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review 2016-01-24 14:30
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Illuminae - Jay Kristoff,Amie Kaufman

This book is a bit of a roller coaster ride, but it was a ton of fun to read and probably one of the most imaginative books I've read in quite some time.  The story is told in a series of memos, medical reports, interviews, journal entries, and text messages and focuses on two teenagers trying to survive after a corporation invades the planet of Kerenza.  Kady and her ex-boyfriend, Ezra, manage to survive the invasion but are separated and live as refugees on two different space ships that are trying to flee from the mega-corporation's troops on board the Lincoln.  Ezra is conscripted into the air force while on the military space ship Alexander, while Kady is a civilian living on the science vessel Hypatia and uses her knowledge of computers to hack into military files in an attempt to discover the reasons for the attack and find a way to help save both the Hypatia and Alexander from being destroyed.

 

I will be blunt: Illuminae is not a book for everyone and I had a difficult time getting hooked into the story. The story is very well written and contains a decent amount of snark and humor, but there is a lot going on and so many subplots that it can be a challenge to follow along.  I do not read many novels written in an epistolary format and I found myself skimming certain sections of the book that were more factual or that focused on a subplot in which I wasn't as invested.  However, this is a series that would likely translate well to film and I hope that this happens one day.  I will likely read the next book in this series when it is released.

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review 2016-01-13 16:45
A Darker Shade of Magic, a Review & Love Letter to a Coat
A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab

So, a lot of people shelve this a young adult, however, Victoria has said that the books published under V.E. Schwab were her adult books and those published under Victoria Schwab were young adult.  Just so there's no confusion.

 

Characters

  • I love how unapologetic Lila is. She's fierce and I love that about her.  It's completely refreshing.  There are so few soft spots with her and I think that's great.

 

  • Kell. I don't even know where to start with Kell.  I like his moral ambiguity, he doesn't always do the right thing but that doesn't mean he's not a good person.  I wish I could steal his coat.  How fantastic does that coat sound? I was in awe every time it was brought up. I think his coat should be a character unto itself.  Imagine the stories it could tell.
  • Rhy. Oh goodness.  I love that his character was the sidekick but I also really wanted an entire story from his point of view.

I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.

Story

  • When I first read the description, I thought it was intriguing but I was a little confused.  Don't fear, it's very clearly and well-explained. 
  • The characters aren't cookie-cutter, there's more to them than meets the eye, there's a brief kiss scene but that doesn't mean there's romance (but that doesn't mean we can't ship it!), and the world building is incredible.
  • I want to know more about the traveller magic that Kell has.  I want to know more about everything. I want to travel the Londons (and beyond) while wearing Kell's coat. 

I'm not used to reading adult fantasy.  You can tell that this isn't written for a young adult audience, not because of it's content but because of the writing.  I can't pinpoint what it is exactly but the flow to the writing is different.  (It's not better, it's not a higher quality, don't even go there, it's just different.)  It's like that saying when a 20-something realizes they're an adult in a situation so they look around for an adultier adult.  This book is that adultier adult.  It has its shit together.

 

This book left off on a note that left me aching for the next adventure but at the same time, I was pretty content if this had been a standalone novel.  Thankfully, A Gathering of Shadows comes out soon so I can find out what trouble Lila got into and so I could drool over Kell's coat some more.

 

Have you read books by V.E. Schwab? Do you love her like I do? Also, if you're not following her on Twitter,  you should. 

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review 2015-12-30 02:51
Simon vs.The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

By far my favorite book I've read this year. I'm experiencing an amazingly wonderful book high right now and cannot stop smiling. Simon Spier's narrative voice is so distinct and it's impossible not to fall in love with his character, as well as his friends and family.  If you're looking for a feel-good story, please consider giving this book a chance.

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review 2015-12-29 17:48
Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard

The premise of Red Queen definitely held my interest - a young girl is trapped in a society ruled by "Silvers" who possess god-like abilities and can master the elements.  Mare Barrow is a "Red," an individual enslaved by the Silvers living among people with no magical abilities. Mare is viewed as a disappointment to her family as she possesses few skills other than a talent for thievery, and her outlook in life is bleak.  She is expected to join the army, but a chance encounter with a stranger leads her to be employed as a servant of the King and the discovery of an ability she had no idea she possessed.  Mare masquerades as a Silver as she learns to control her new-found ability and develops a plan to help the Reds in their cause to gain equality and freedom.

 

I enjoyed reading this story immensely in spite of some major problems that exist with the plot. I love a book that has high political stakes intertwined with conflicting family allegiances, and in many ways this book definitely delivers a satisfying and adventurous tale.

 

I was engrossed in the world Aveyard created....but I honestly wanted a bit more world-building than what we were given.  If you're going to a write fantasy novel, you must go ALL IN and create an epic conflict that will captivate your audience. The war described in the book is far too vague and is reminiscent of so many other conflicts that plague YA fantasy novels.  Every territory in this world has a political structure in which there is a Silver monarchy and an enslaved Red population.  If the primary conflict is a power struggle among Silver nobility within these regions and the Silvers possess unthinkable abilities, including mind control, then why would powerless Red soldiers need to be conscripted into the King's army to fight its battles?  This would be comparable to a muggle army joining death eaters under the command of Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter books to fight in a war against other wizards......which would make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

 

There's also the issue of Mare's new-found ability. It takes an extraordinary suspension of belief to accept that Mare's power remained dormant throughout her childhood. Given the degree of oppression and violence experienced by the Reds, it is difficult to believe that she has never been exposed to a stressful event that would trigger her ability and make it apparent to others, especially her family, that she is different.

 

Although there are some glaring issues with the plot, I am hopeful that some of these kinks will be worked out in the next book of the series and excited to see how the characters will work together to survive given the numerous lies and betrayals that take place at the conclusion of this story. 

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review 2015-11-12 01:52
Yay for this alternate universe!
Switch #1 (Expected Release/Ship Date: 10/14/2015) - Stjepan Sejic

Top Cow gave one of its top artists license to play in the Top Cow universe.   He was allowed to go alternate on its ass.  

 

And he did.   In a really good way.   Yes, teen iterations of the Darkness and the Witchblade, although this is a new Witchblade bearer.   She's awkward, she doesn't consider herself gorgeous (although I hate the focus on looks, and I have the awful, sinking suspicion that she'll do the thing where she turns gorgeous suddenly), and she's into UFOs.   She's quirky, and honest about her own faults, and while teen versions of characters can go wrong, I think this will go right, mostly because it's not teen Sara.   It's someone new, so the author/artist has free reign with her, and he used that to create a full character here. 

 

There's a new Estacado as the bearer of the Darkness and while you don't see as much of him as Mary, the bearer of The Witchblade, I think I could like him very much.   All in all, my favorite graphic novel today.   Worth the two dollars on Comixology.   Had I known how awesome this was, I would have been willing to pay more in fact. 

 

I'm eagerly waiting for issue number two!

 

ETA: my bad.  I jumped around with the family names, so revised review. 

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