Chained by Susanne Valenti (Cage of Lies #1) (DNF)

Title: Chained
Series Title: Cage of Lies
Author: Susanne Valenti
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Date Added: January 3, 2016
Date Started: Unknown
Date Finished: Unknown
Percentage Read: 63%

Pages: 313
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Media: Kindle

“Terrified of the contamination and the creatures it has created, humanity hides behind The Wall. No one knows what lies beyond the wasteland. Maya has never thought much about what might still be out there, lurking in the forgotten places. But when she’s thrust into the unknown, she is forced to question everything she has ever been told. Not everyone outside died, some of them became something… else. As her heart is torn in two, every choice she makes is harder than the last. What she discovers will change her forever. She knows she will probably die, but Maya has seen enough of death and she won’t let it have her without a fight.”

I feel incredibly bad about this book.  The author was kind enough to give me an eARC for an honest review, and I never delivered on my end of the bargain.  I ended up buying it anyway just because I like to support, and it was also easier to read the purchased item since it’s formatted for Kindle.

As you can see from the post title, I did not finish the novel; however, I would still highly recommend it if you are of the YA Dystopian loving variety (which has been stated numerous times, I’m really not).  It has parallels in both Divergent and Hunger Games, but doesn’t mirror either and in fact puts an interesting twist on the motifs. Like many books of this variety, things are not what they seem, and those in power can’t be trusted, and I was pleasantly shocked by some of the dangers Maya faced.  They were a bit more raw and dire than standard YA fare, but utterly plausible in this world and situation she found herself.

The one critique I have to give (I do want to be honest) has to do with a particular character being unconscious for nearly two-thirds of the book.  In fact they were still knocked out when I stopped reading.  This forestalled any chances of a love triangle forming, which may have been Ms. Valenti’s plan, but it seemed like a forced avoidance.  While there was an explanation given for the character’s state *spoiler* with the assumption that they would wake up well with no brain damage, *end spoiler* love triangles aren’t inherently bad (though they have become trite I suppose), and there was (and still is) also a potential resolution that would pair all of the important characters up.

Since I know that YA is not my preferred genre, I have to take my bias against it into account.  Chained is a nice scramble of popular paradigms, which is what the best stories do.  YA Is supposed to show younger readers that they shouldn’t always believed what they’re told.  They should fight for proof, not follow without any question, and learn how to think as opposed to what.  A major reveal of the story comes nicely in the midst of very high stakes.

The author has several more books planned in this series so if you enjoy this, there are plenty more to come!

3.5 stars





Question of the Week: 1/31/16

<–Question of the Week: 1/24/16          Question of the Week: 2/7/16–>

The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same.  Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation.  Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all.  Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading four books…not something I planned.  I think once I “catch up,” I’ll try to cap it at three.  My plan is to have one fiction/fantasy, one Classic, and one reference.  Eh, actually, I can probably keep it at four since I have one book that I read on my Kindle before the dance aerobics class I attend 2-4 times a week.  Usually the Kindle book is something written by a fellow blogger, which is what’s currently happening now.

Chained: Everything You Know Is a Lie… (Cage of Lies Book 1)
This book is by fellow blogger Susanne Valenti, and it’s fast paced and holds its own very well in the sea of YA Dystopian.  I am genuinely terrified for these characters in a way I haven’t felt since Hunger Games..

Dreamsongs: Volume I
The precursor tales to A Song of Ice and Fire may hold some key information on Martin’s epic high fantasy will end  I’ll be a doing a brief review of this or at least talking about the stories that really touched me, but just for a taste, I’ll say that “The Second Kind of Loneliness” is one of the most haunting stories I’ve ever read.  It hits  you so hard with its universal sorrow.  Some of his earlier stories are a bit rough (which Martin himself admits), but you can see the growth with ever installation.

Paradise Lost
“So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,
Farewell remorse: all good to me is lost.”

I should’ve read this ten years ago seeing as it is heavily referenced in nearly all of my favorite stories (Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, the many times mentioned ASOIAF, and the more mentioned FFVII).  I’m in the midst of Book VII and I’ll have quite an extensive analysis to write once I’m done.  I don’t know if it’ll be book by book, but I know I won’t be able to encompass everything that needs said in one blog post.

The Mystical Qabalah
This is another volume I should’ve read a long time ago as there’s a major reference (or references rather) to it in my beloved FFVII.  I’ve been fascinated by religious symbolism for a long time, and I’m always interested in the origin of things, where they spring from and how they’re shaped.  Even though I’m still in the midst of this book, the concept of the Tree of Life has influenced me deeply enough that I have a tattoo of it on my right arm.


What are you currently reading?  Do you normally read more than one book at a time or do you try to conquer your literary mountain one at a time?

I look forward to your answers in the comments!

<–Question of the Week: 1/24/16          Question of the Week: 2/7/16–>