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review 2017-10-29 10:26
Grip
Grip: A SciFi Dystopian Thriller (The Slip Trilogy Book 2) - David Estes

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Keeping on catching up with my NetGalley readings. I finished the first book earlier this week, now on to book 2, which was also a good one in its own way, and not the dread ‘second book syndrome sufferer’ I usually fear in such cases.

It does pave up the way to the ‘grand finale’ of book 3, of course, among other things by introducing new developments and therefore a third way, so to speak. It’s not about the hunt for Slips only, not anymore; the Lifers are also involved, and no party is all black or all white. The action is not only about running away/reacting this time, although the book does have its share of such scenes since they’re part of its premise, however the characters also start making moves of their own, instead of only the villains setting plans in motion. And even if said moves are a little on the clunky side, the characters are clearly proactive and taking on their enemies now.

The story has its share of twists. Like in the first book, they are partly predictable (e.g. the one where only the audio part is played), yet at the same time some of them are of the gritty kind, that I wouldn’t necessarily have expected in a YA story (this is not YA for 12-year-old, for sure). And as far as I can tell, there’s one major twist that is a definitive one, there’s not going to be any ‘surprise, I’m back’ scene (I hope there won’t be because it was a sad moment, and retconning it would cheapen it).

The ads and propaganda inserts are interesting, too. At first I didn’t care much for them, but little by little they’re helping draw a more comprehensive picture of the world (the technology people have at hand, the comments—both published and deleted—on newspaper articles

The characters keep evolving, Harrison especially is going on a path I like: at first he felt to me like he was ‘just there’, some kind of afterthought patched onto Benson’s story, yet here he takes action, initiates moves that have their own ethical backlashes, gets to go through ordeals as well, discovers betrayal... At the same time, while he does resent his father and seems to unconsciously prevent himself from properly grieving, he’s also accepted his brother like, well, a brother. He’s an interesting counterpoint to Domino: both children had very similar backgrounds (a Slip sibling, one parent being constantly away to take care of the Slip), but Harrison is going a completely different path. On the other hand, I don’t care that much for the Destroyer, perhaps because at this point he’s so broken that even his fighting against his leash doesn’t look like there’ll be much development her, apart from ‘yay I get to be a psychopath 100% of the time now’.

A few new characters get introduced, like Destiny (another Slip, who goes through her own dark moments because of the mistakes she made, and has to learn to outgrow this—all the while showing her inner strength and resourcefulness in terms of survival techniques, -she- didn’t have a Michael Kelly to craft a false ID for her after all!). Or the Agriculturists, more in the background for now but with an agenda of their own.

Conclusion: A solid second book that furthers the overarching plot.

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review 2017-10-26 19:34
Slip
Slip (The Slip Trilogy Book 1) - David Estes

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I hadn’t read anything by David Estes in quite a while, and when I saw this series on NetGalley, I thought, well, time to address this state of affairs. I shall also confess that nowadays, I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with YA dystopias in general, for various reasons, and I was glad that this book, while it is a bit predictable and uses expected tropes, avoids what are the usual pitfalls of the genre for me.

The main characters in general were likeable. Benson is a good mix of resourcefulness, emotions and inner strength. Luce is the obvious ‘love interest’, but without falling in his arms, and with a past that makes it possible (while awful for her) to develop this relationship more slowly and believably than what usually happens in YA novels; she’s also resourceful, daring, and doesn’t hesitate to stand by her friends (well, OK, I guess her decision to face danger with Benson who lied to her was kind of stupid, but...). Michael Kelly as well is an interesting man, torn between his job and his mission of killing unauthorised babies and children, and his desire to protect his son. I didn’t care much for Harrison, though, perhaps because of his ‘perfect athlete and student’ record, and I thought that his mid-book decision came a little out of nowhere, considering he wasn’t seen pondering much about it (and his feelings) before. And I’m on the fence about the Destroyer, in his case I believe I -would- have want to see more of him before he became a Hunter, for his evolution into a psychopath to be better pitched against him as a child (in a way, I love to hate him for his appalling personality, but he’s too one-sided as a villain).

The world in which these characters evolve was also better rounded up than usual in dystopian YA novels (where I often get the feeling of a ‘pocket world’, totally isolated from the rest of Earth, which always makes me wonder where are the other countries and why they’re not poking their noses in). The population control method in those new USA is harsh, however the situation that led to it makes sense: climatic change, rising water levels, drowned coasts, less resources left to feed all the people, and it is logical to expect that the rest of the world has met a similar fate, hence if everybody stays in their corner and develop their own policies, it’s not unbelievable. This world is all the more creepy because it’s not such an impossible future, all in all.

Minor pet peeve: I really have a hard time with the name ‘Pop Con’, that just looks so much like ‘pop corn’ to me. XD (But I do see the naming convention roots à la 1984.)

I found the beginning a little slow, possibly because it devoted quite a few chapters to a part of Benson’s life that I felt I didn’t need so many details about—the story becomes more interesting after the boy grows up and we meet his friends. After that were more action scenes, especially once ‘the chase’ gets into motion (that’s no spoiler, of course at some point people would realise who the Slip is!). There was a bit of a plot hole/flimsy explanation, though, regarding the Wire/Jumpers/Lifers connection; it would’ve demanded some more preparation to be more logical, I think.

Conclusion: 3.5, not perfect but definitely enjoyable, especially its second half.

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review 2017-04-02 18:15
The Earth Dwellers (The Dwellers Saga) - David Estes

♪♫My Pick For Book Theme Song♫♪

Another One Bites The Dust by Queen  --Another series finished, I'm seriously on a roll with finishing series lately…so this song is for all of the series that I've conquered lately…also…because David Estes is not afraid to kill off key people and he literally slayed me with some throughout the series, especially one in particular from this very book…♫

Overall Rating:  4.8/5 Stars (Grade=A)

 

Book Title:  Earth Dwellers

Author:  David Estes

Series:  Book #7 of the combined Dwellers and Country Sagas

Genre:  YA, Dystopian

Source:  Own Kindle eBook

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

My Thoughts

 

Can you imagine people living underground?  Like way underground…so far down, it takes a half hour to get to the surface.

Imagine a fake sun, a fake horizon, a fake moon, even fake stars…and then imagine never knowing anything different. 

 

It's crazy to think about…the premise of this series is an intricately woven one.  7 books in total 3 from Dwellers saga, and 3 from the Country saga, all culminating in one final book…Earth Dwellers.  All the players (at least the ones he hasn't killed off) are here, but the book pov switches between only 4 of the main characters from other books: Sienna, Dazz, Adele and Tristan…even Perry makes an appearance.  Overall, a gripping, yet sweetly pleasing end to this total series.  There's so much more he (David Estes) could do with this world, though.  Oh…the possibilities…

 

Ratings Breakdown

 

Plot:  4.5/5

Characters:  5/5

The Feels:  4.5/5

Addictiveness:  4/5

Theme:  5/5

Flow:  5/5

Backdrop (World Building):  5/5

Originality:  5/5

Book Cover:  4/5

Ending:  4.8/5 Cliffhanger:  Nope

 

Will I read more from David Estes?  Why yes, I would…

 

 

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review 2017-02-09 21:44
Audio/Book Review of Fire Country (The Country Saga Book 1) by David Estes
Fire Country - David Estes

In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.

 

Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.

 

Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.

 

As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.

 

Review 6*

 

I originally received a copy of this book in 2013 from the author in return for an honest review, which I duly posted. However, I am now editing my review to incorporate listening to it in audiobook format, which I purchased through Audible UK.

 

This audiobook is narrated by Khristine Hvam. I must admit that when I heard her narration I thought to myself, 'This doesn't sound like the Siena in my head as I pictured her.' However, as I listened to her speak, I realised that her voice is perfect for Siena's character. She brings a charm and warmth to the story. She also gives each character their own voice and accent, which brings them to life. Her diction is clear and precise and easy to listen to. I would definitely consider listening to more books narrated by her.

 

My original review:

 

OMG! This is a fantastically brutal dystopian novel. I LOVED IT!

 

Siena is a fantastic character! She is a young lady that I greatly admire. Her determination, independence and grit astounded me. As her sixteenth birthday looms, she has to make a decision that will change her life.

 

As I started reading this book, I was completely pulled in to a world that has been devastated by a disaster of biblical proportions. The Heaters are a tribe living in the most unforgiving conditions I have ever encountered in the pages of a book, but somehow, they manage to survive. Raging sandstorms, fires and unrelenting heat would sap the energy out of anyone, but these people have gained my respect with their ingenuity and sheer determination. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat more than once, as the story unraveled. I also found myself on a rollercoaster of swinging emotions; from disbelief, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust, joy, a few other mixed ones and back again! However, it is their laws that I found myself railing against. The one where they have to force girls of sixteen to procreate for their survival. I can understand the need to survive as a tribe, but it's the way they go about it that made my stomach clench! I wanted to shout "perverts", but as they are fictional characters, they wouldn't hear me! However, there are some really likable characters that redeemed the tribe in my eyes. These are Siena's friends: Circ and Veena. Circ is one of her closest friends and a wonderful character. He is a Hunter and the same age as Siena. Veena is a year older than Siena, and has already had a baby. Her attempts to get her no-good Call (mate) to take care of the baby made me giggle! This book is peppered with a whole slew of tribal slang, but it reminded me of some words I could picture the Australians saying (no offence to the Australians, I love their slang!). There are also a fair few twists and turns in this book that kept me hooked from the first page to the last! I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

 

David Estes has written a fantastic dystopian novel that has turned me into a huge fan! I love his writing style, which is fast paced and extremely fluid! His characters came alive, and the descriptions of the environs left me breathless! I am looking forward to reading more of his books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book if you love YA or Dystopian genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2016-07-15 03:38
Imaginative and entertaining
The Moon Dwellers - David Estes

I want to read more of this author

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