[REVIEW] Vivian Versus the Apocalypse – Katie Coyle

Katie Coyle
Vivian Versus the Apocalypse [also published as Vivian Apple at the End of the World] (Vivian Apple, Book 1)
Hot Key Books (UK: 5th September 2013); Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US: 6th January 2015)
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TRIGGER WARNING: Hate-crime.

So your parents have been Raptured, and you’re Left Behind. Do you stay in town with your best friend, or go to live with your new legal guardians? To Vivian Apple’s credit, she at least gives living with her grandparents a try and lasts a few weeks with them. This is a YA book wherein adults are not automatically disregarded, or conveniently absent. Indeed, Vivian’s mother has an interesting story, too.

Ultimately, though, the most nuanced character is Vivian’s best friend. It’s bad enough that Harpreet Janda’s parents are gone, but an even more traumatising event leaves her with no reason to stay in Pittsburgh. And when Viv’s love interest joins the road trip to California, Harp is the third wheel, which is awkward, but she still has more wit than Viv and Peter combined.

Edie doesn’t add to the plot, but maybe she’s there to represent someone who’s okay with being Left Behind – for now, anyway. Rumours of a second Rapture (before the Apocalypse) are said to be limited in the number of people who’ll be saved, so some treat their Left Behind life as a competition.

Wambaugh doesn’t add to the plot, either, but it’s great to have such a positive adult role model in a YA book, and Wambaugh’s an awesome teacher. I suppose she’s also included for the scene that proves that having faith, being a Believer, doesn’t automatically mean the person does the awful things that their religion may unfortunately be stereotyped for. Indeed, the novel’s ending really goes to show that there’s something more powerfully deadly than the Church.

Katie Coyle’s witty Left Behind characters struggle to find something worth believing in, as hope fuels their drove across the USA. Vivian Apple develops from a meek girl into a headstrong young woman, in a story that shows different aspects of faith, and the sometimes devastating effect the possibility of salvation can have.

4 New Covers (Bosworth, Cremer, Ellison)

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24th March 2015 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Laura Bickle
Dark Alchemy
HarperCollins Voyager Impulse (US & AU: 24th March 2015)
Review
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Geologist Petra Dee arrives in Wyoming seeking clues to her father’s disappearance years ago. What she finds instead is Temperance, a dying western town with a gold rush past and a meth-infested present. But under the dust and quiet, an old power is shifting. When bodies start turning up – desiccated and twisted skeletons that Petra can’t scientifically explain – her investigations land her in the middle of a covert war between the town’s most powerful interests. Petra’s father wasn’t the only one searching for the alchemical secrets of Temperance, and those still looking are now ready to kill. Armed with nothing but shaky alliances, a pair of antique guns, and a relic she doesn’t understand, the only thing Petra knows for sure is that she and her coyote sidekick are going to have to move fast – or die next.

Lydia Kang
Catalyst (Control, Book 2)
Penguin Kathy Dawson (US & CA: 24th March 2015)
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In the past year Zel lost her father, the boy she loves, her safety, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of genetic outcasts they’ve come to call their family are forced on the run when their safe house is attacked by men with neural guns. But on the way to a rumored haven in Chicago, Zel hears something – a whisper from Cy, the boy who traded himself for her sister’s safety. And when she veers off plan in order to search for him, what she finds is not what she expected. There’s more to their genetic mutations than they ever imagined…aspects that make them wonder if they might be accepted by the outside world after all.

4 New Covers (Armstrong, Arthur, DeStefano, Harrison)

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[REVIEW] Atlantia – Ally Condie

Ally Condie
Atlantia
Penguin (US & CA: 28th October 2014; UK & AU: 6th November 2014)
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My suspension of disbelief can only be so strong for so long before it collapses. Atlantia is a mind-boggler. To the author’s credit, Ally Condie does try to describe the actual world-building: the city of Atlantia is underwater, inside giant, connected “bubbles”. But I can’t properly imagine the engineering and logistics required to build a city and move it into these “bubbles”, or bring the materials INTO the bubbles, and build them inside. What are these bubbles made of, and how are they connected?

Then there’s the matter of the “floodgates”: you go into the empty room, lie down the corpse, and then vacate. There’s some button or lever to use, and the room floods with water. The corpse rises, and…exits? Then somehow the water is drained, so the room is empty again. I CANNOT FIGURE THIS OUT. I can kind of picture it, but can’t understand the structure and drainage.

The book gets better, though, or at least more interesting. I gave up trying to understand, and the story picks up from thereon. There are mysteries to solve: why did the narrator’s sister choose to live Above, and who killed their mother? When revealed, the answers are anti-climactic, but at least the second half of the book is much better than the first.

Rio Conwy is an alright heroine, working towards her goal by breaking it down into components. While her swimming efforts are fabulous, a little knowledge of lungs and pressure would have cut out that plotline altogether. Albeit, her training isn’t for nothing in the end, though it does come across as a bit of a waste.

19th March 2015 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Tracey O’Hara
Darla (Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives, Book 11)
Harlequin Escape (AU: 19th March 2015)
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Darla knows her place at the exclusive Diamond D dinners – she is comic relief, entertaining the rest of the women with tales of her dating woes. Since her divorce, she has been on one bad date after another, and not even a high-class dating agency can help. But a massive storm front brings a visit from an old neighbour – and suddenly being neighbourly takes on a whole new meaning. When it rains, it pours, and it looks like Darla’s dry spell is about to become a thing of the past.

4 New Covers (Edwards, Fortune, Jean, Meyer)

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