If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review: Divided by M.J. Stevens / @MelanieJStevens

Title: The Guardians #2: Divided
Author: M.J. Stevens
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: November 28, 2014
Genre: Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Romance
ARC Received From: M.J. Stevens

“My father may have saved my life… but without the Guardians, we’re all in danger.”

The MECH power has been reawakened. They have driven the Guardians from their home, taken their powers and Selestia has been plunged into darkness. Trapped on an island off the coast of the Centreland, Mellea can only watch as her home is torn apart by the MECH’s leader, Doctor.

When an unlikely ally creates a serum that will restore the Guardians, Mellea must fight the clock to find the Montarus family before Doctor makes her final move.

But what good is a key if the lock is missing?

Other books in this series

When I find a character I like, I want the best for them. I want them to grow, to love, to live. I want them to discover strength within while acknowledging their limitations, faults, doubts, and pasts. For me, it's important that all aspects of a character's life be examined as deeply as possible. If not, their actions don't make sense and might seem self-serving.

Mellea comes into her own in this story. She proves her worth as a friend, a fighter, a lover, and a bride. Taken by her MECH father at the end of Bound, I was happy to discover he had a greater-good reason for taking her because he put her in contact with Dreya, relative to the Guardians and rebel leader against the MECHs. It was shocking to discover the bride of a Guardian was a MECH, even more shocking to learn she's related to the psycho woman leading the MECH armies, the Doctor. Dreya and the Doctor give new meaning to familial animsoity.

Leo changed a lot from Bound and I loved what I read about him. The most interesting was his devotion to Livolism, the belief every person has a spirit watching over and guiding them toward their destiny. (While the multiple mentions of Livolism might not seem significant to some, it is actually very relevant as Mellea discovers the hidden power of her water gem.) Leo didn't at all strike me as a free-will devotee of anything; he was unbelievably crass and rude and spoiled in Bound. His firm belief in Livolism was shocking and exciting. I loved reading what he had to say about it, and I loved his willingness to share it with Mellea.

I have to admit that the dysfunction amongst the Guardians really threw me. Bound hinted at discord but I chalked it up to spoiled children acting like spoiled children. Divided provided so much Guardian history and showed the discord in the Montarus family could ultimately be their undoing as well as what keeps them from taking back their home from the MECHs. I was happy that Dreya came along and helped set things to right in their family. After all everyone had been through, the peace that came with being and working together to achieve a common goal was a breath of fresh air.

There is so much I loved about this story. Not just the characters but the situations they were in. Emotions ran high and fast. Dialogue moved naturally and conveyed the unspoken extremely well. Bound had me falling in love with a YA series. Divided had me wanting more of it. Ms. Stevens' series about Guardians and MECHs is worth more than a passing glance or a quick read through. It should be savored, read slowly, and thoroughly enjoyed by the reader. I can't wait for the next book in this series, Ms. Stevens. I know you won't disappoint.

M.J.Stevens was born in Newcastle, Australia and moved to Brisbane when she was 8. Her love for English, writing and general story telling didn't evolve until she was 16 and she was looking for a constructive way to funnel her creativity.

"I wish I could say that I was one of those kids that read insane amounts of books and that's why I was inspired to write, like a lot of authors. But I actually found the joy on people's faces [when they talk about stories they love] more inspiring and wanted to create something of my own that will give young readers that same excited expression." M.J.

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