ARC Review ~ City of Savages by Lee Kelly +Giveaway

Series: N/A
Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Page Length:  416 Pages
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Saga Press (S&S)
Source: ARC via author, THANK YOU LEE <33 
Goodreads

After the Red Allies turn New York City into a POW camp, two sisters must decipher the past in order to protect the future in this action-packed thriller with a dual narrative.

It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the POW camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.

When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the war’s outbreak, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual POW census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel.

Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that end in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past.
 

**This is a long review because there's just so much I have to say about this brilliant book.

There are some books that you discover and just know you're going to love. That happened to me with this book; I fell head-over-heels in love with City of Savages. Everything about it was utter perfection. This book needs to be on your to-read list, so please please please add it to Goodreads!

What instantly drew me in to this book was the cover. It looks so ominous and gritty, it perfectly reflects what's on the inside: a rough and vicious story of war and survival that's as dangerously beautiful as the cover. I love that the setting is Manhattan. I love NYC, and reading of references to these popular places was intriguing and horrifying. It really tugged at my heart strings, it made me think What if this happened to me? What if my life was uprooted, my home destroyed? 

This book is emotionally raw and gritty and intense throughout. Manhattan has surrendered and been taken over by the Red Allies as a prisoners-of-war camp. Told from two points of view, we see the two sisters Phee and Sky's diverging opinions and thoughts towards their war-ravaged city. Sky yearns for Before. She hates how Manhattan is run by the malicious warden Rolladin and wants to leave. Phee clings to the only home she's ever known, the decimated city of Manhattan. Everything is thrown into chaos when strangers enter the city and share some startling news. As Sky, Phee, and her mother flee, they uncover shocking truths and learn more about their tattered city and how it really came to be.

It's very hard for the quality of writing to capture my attention these days. I've read so many books by now that the writing all starts to sound the same. Lee Kelly's writing stole my bookish heart from the beginning though. I can't even begin to describe how amazing it is. She's a debut author, and her writing is better than most seasoned writers out there. I kid you not. The imagery is perfect, her writing is so lyrical. She truly pours all of the emotions into her writing. She leaves us on the edge of seats, she has us shocked and horrified, she makes us cry our eyes out. Our eyes are glued to the page, soaking up her glorious words. She illuminates strong themes of family and identity with her powerful words and paints beautiful pictures with her figurative language. The premise is so intriguing, and I love how Lee feeds us information bit by bit. She doesn't dump all the information of the war on us. She gives it to us little by little in a subtle way that doesn't sound like it's being told to us. We find things out as the character do; we aren't given the whole scope, we're given what's necessary and relevant to the story. It's best that way. This book is packed with action too!

This book is told in dual points of view, and Lee did an amazing job at it. The voices were different, they truly reflected their respective thoughts. I felt I really got a sense of their personalities and aspirations. The older sister Sky is the delicate, smart, proper, and reasonable one. Phee is the free-spirited, wild one. I felt I knew them both so well, and I admired them both so much. What I truly loved was their friendship. Watching these two sisters grow and seeing their friendship alter and grow stronger tugged at my heartstrings. I loved how close they were. They told each other everything, they could read each other, they supported one another. They had the best sister relationship ever.

The secondary characters had incredible depth, I felt I knew them all very well. The supporting characters were relatable and realistic. Phee and Sky's mother is so strong and caring. Ryder is the thoughtful and sweet guy who makes you swoon. Sam is the infuriating bossy military type you can't help but love. Rolladin is the enigma, the woman you just want to know more about. The relationships in this book are spot-on. There's a side romance that plays a minimal part in the book. I'm glad it's small because the most important relationships in this book is between family, mainly Sky and Phee and their sisterly love for one another and between them and their mother as they clear away the secrets and understand all the sacrifices made and why things were done as they were. I loved the family aspects of this book.

The themes were strong and well executed. Identity and family were the biggest ones I saw, and Lee did an amazing job with both. The book wrapped up beautifully and left me in tears. I sat there reeling for hours, relishing in the epicness of this book. Truly spectacular. A masterpiece. Best book I've read in a long time, and it will join only 17 other books to my "most favorites" shelf. You need to read this book. I wish I could find the words to do this book justice, but I can't. Just read it.
And now a giveaway! I loved this book so much, I'm giving away a pre-order of City of Savages.
Rules:
1. This giveaway is international 
2. No cheating. I will check every entry.
3. Winner has 72 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

36 comments:

  1. Wow seems interesting!
    Thanks for the giveaway!=)

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  2. The blurb intimidates me. It seems full of heavy stuff. But you have a fairly convincing review there, so I'd probably check this one out. Thanks for the giveaway, Rachel. Keeping my fingers crossed! ^__^

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  3. WOW! This sounds like the kind of book that I'd need to reignite my love for dystopian and postapocalyptic!
    Thank you so much for the giveaway, and even more for it being international, Rachel!

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  4. Well you've sold me on this book, Rachel! Fantastic review and thanks for the giveaway!!

    Em @ Books & Cleverness

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  5. OMG. I so want to read this after reading your review. It sounds like a great book. I had heard about this about NYC Comic Con. So glad to hear that it's really good.

    Great review.

    Grace @ Books of Love

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  6. OMGOMGOMGOMG. I WANT THIS. Thank you my dear Rachel for the review! YA Dystopia can either be hit or miss and this looks like a biiiiig hit. I hope there's good world-building though, except for the characters. Friendship? Yes! yes! yes!

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  7. Yeesh, I could have sworn I had a copy of this...but I don't. Dystopia is not my favorite genre, but I do enjoy them every once in a while. Glad to see you loved this one!

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  8. This sounds like my type of read and something I'll really, really enjoy. and it sounds like the writing is great. Great review! Adding this on my tbr now! :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

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  9. Why am I excited? Well, I just read your gushing review ;)

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  10. Oh, this sounds so amazing! I mean, I have wanted to read it for ages now, but your review has left me basically needing it NOW. I love the Manhattan setting too, I love when I can get a good feel of the location, so this is perfect! And the family relationships and friendships? Yep, I need this one! Great review, and thanks so much for the chance to win it!

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  11. That looks like a great book! I love dystopian novels. And what a great giveaway!

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  12. Ok, this book sounds absolutely amazing! I love when debut authors surprise you and blow everything you know out of the water. It's so hard to do dual perspectives, so I'm glad to hear that Lee Kelly manages it so nicely! Thanks for introducing this book to me, I don't think I would have ever picked it up because that cover doesn't appeal to me as much as it does to you, eep! But I can't wait to read this one now! xx

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  13. Not sure I can read this, but it's just my issue. I live in Manhattan and since 9/11 I often can't handle stories like this. If all the reviews are raves, I may request it at the library and see how I do...
    And I agree with Joy -- the cover is pretty but I'd never guess it's YA.
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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  14. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway

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  15. Glad you can distinguish the voices and find their personalities, always important to me when there's multiple perspectives, and even better, soooooo glad it has a good sister relationship, the ones that are always sibling rivalry get on my nerves. Sounds like everything was done right for a change, I hate the missed opportunities, you know? The ones that could've been a little better by going more into depth in characters and relationships. :)

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  16. I have such a hard time with Dystopia books. Sometimes they are so great and other times they leave me confused. Because of this I am always so hesitant to read the genre. I've got to say though that this one sounds really good! I haven't heard of it until now reading your review. You've convinced me! Adding it to my TBR list. Hoping it's a such a big hit with me as it was for you! Awesome review! :)

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  17. Rachel, this is such a lovely review. I was looking forward to this one already but my excitement level rocketed sky high after reading your review. I love books with strong sisterly bonds so I have no doubt that this book will be amazing now. The writing sounds gorgeous too!
    Beautiful review, Rachel!

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  18. it sounds interesting

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  19. Oh wow, this sounds absolutely interesting! And it's surprising that I hadn't heard of this book before your review, because it's right up my alley. So of course I'm really glad that you loved it so much, Rachel. :D I agree, the cover is freaking amazing. I love the typography and the sort-of cityscape in the background. It looks like a horror-slash-sci-fi kind of book, which I LOVE.

    "She's a debut author, and her writing is better than most seasoned writers out there." -- This is making me want the book even more, now! A small confession, but I don't really care much about how lyrical or how beautiful an author's writing is. It's definitely a plus if it's flowy and gorgeous, of course, but it's no loss if it isn't, too. But a debut author with such great writing... Gah, I want to read it now. I love that the floweriness of the writing didn't take away any of the emotional attachment you formed with the characters. I've noticed that happens a lot with lyrical writing. Which just bugs the heck out of me, tbh.

    Yeah, I tend to be really wary of books with multiple perspectives because most of the time it means that I won't be as close to the characters as I want to be. I am so, so relieved that that wasn't the case in this book. And it isn't often, too, that I can sense such strong familial relations between two characters! Lee Kelly is beginning to sound more and more epic.

    Thanks for such an awesome review, hon! Definitely going to add this book to my shelf, and maybe even my wishlist, because HOW COULD I NOT. Thanks for putting it on my radar! <3

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  20. Oh wow!!! That Blurb. Thanks Rachel for this wonderful review. I am fully convinced. Added now on my TBR. :)

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  21. Girl, your review has made my bloody pumping like never before. I so know what you mean about writing starting to become the same after you read so many books... it's so hard to find a real gem, you know? Something that distincts it from the rest. Seeing as this really made you enchanted, I'm just so excited to read it myself. Plus, strong family themes? I can count in my fingers the YA books set in this genre that still showcases that! Count me in, count me in, COUNT ME IN!!!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  22. Girl you had me at emotional raw gritty and intense. I AM SO IN. I'm so glad that this was a dual POV that worked really well where both voices were distinct and everything xD

    Lovely review, Rach <33

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  23. I have this on my TBR, have for some time, so thanks for hosting this giveaway! I'm glad you rated it so high gives me something to look forward to!

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  24. WOW, just wow! That is one amazing review and you have made me so desperate to read this book. It sounds incredible. I hadn't even heard of it before I saw this review, but now it's heading straight on the TBR list. I need this book in my life.

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  25. AHHH. I'm so excited for this book, Rachel. Your review just upped my excitement levels to destructive levels!!!!!! ::explosion::

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  26. Oooo, I might have to check this one out! I haven't been much for scifi lately even though it's a genre I enjoy, but I will definitely add it to my TBR. ;D Great review, as usual.

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  27. I am excited to read this books bc of YOU but also bc it sounds amazing!!! Thank you for this chance and amazing book rec!
    <3 Britt

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  28. I love dystopian and this definitely looks like an ORIGINAL take on the genre! Besides dystopian I also love WWII stories, so I think this would be a great book.

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  29. You totally got me on this review! I already added it on goodreads. Gosh, this review made me want to drop whatever I'm doing to read this book. :D

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  30. I've had my eye on this book since FOREVER, and you've definitely convinced me to read this as soon as possible. Brilliant review. CAN'T. WAIT. Thank you for the giveaway :D

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  31. This book sounds amazing! Plus, you have pretty much have me itching to get my hands on a copy by now. Thanks for the giveaway girl <3

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  32. I enjoy a good YA dystopia, and the premise of this one really intrigues me.

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  33. This sounds very interesting and original! I especially love the YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi genre! Thanks for the giveaway!!

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  34. I just won a copy of this book, and I'm so excited to read it. It's a little outside of my comfort zone, but it looks to good not to read.

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  35. I honestly had no intention of reading this one. UNTIL, I started reading random reviews and they all sound a lot like yours. For a debut novel/writer, I am blown away by the amazingly positive reviews that I have read. I think now, after reading your review, I am willing to throw caution to the wind and get this one asap!

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