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review 2018-07-04 17:03
A Riveting Blend of Thriller and Sci-Fi
Transmission - Morgan Rice

Book 1 of the Invasion Chronicles represents a departure for fantasy series writer Morgan Rice, who here places her affinity for fantasy in the adjacent realm of science fiction. 

 

The story opens with teen Kevin's growing struggles with visions and paralyzing headaches: a condition that's been diagnosed as a degenerative brain disorder, but which actually proves to be something quite different. 

 

Kevin's visions initially involve a strange string of numbers; but as he begins to also see planets, a burning sun, and a kind of countdown, he eventually comes to realize that his condition and hallucinations are much more than a physical death sentence. They're actually a transmission from an unknown extraterrestrial entity and they portend a danger only Kevin may be able to address. 

 

Kevin knows about sci-fi and realizes that in the movies, important people would quickly recognize the value of his experiences. But, he's only thirteen. How can he convince the adults around him—including his mother—that he is experiencing something more than a brain malfunction's final hallucinations? 

 

As a psychiatrist helps him think differently about his visions and disease and various options for coping with both, Kevin is provided with the kinds of tools that lead him to a number of well-kept secrets right on his home planet; from hidden bunkers and military projects to scientists, government concerns, and a conundrum for the world which arises when Kevin dares to talk about aliens on TV. 

 

Suddenly the secret's out, and Kevin finds himself in the middle of a series of dilemmas that will affect Earth's future and humanity's choices. 

 

One strength in Transmission lies in a plot which at first seems familiar (boy discovers alien invasion, child becomes a key to events as they unfold), but takes some unexpected diversions into areas of international intrigue, adding thriller elements that are surprising in a sci-fi story that will reach adults as much as young adult audiences. 

 

These journeys into other countries and other concerns add depth and surprising dimensions into a story that many readers will anticipate as a standard alien invasion plot, offering an approach that juxtaposes a boy's deadly illness with his equally challenging new abilities. 

 

In presenting the key character as an unusually savvy 13-year-old, Morgan Rice is in danger of having this survey regulated to teen audiences alone; and that would be a shame. Although Kevin's age is one of the facets that enters into his ability to perceive what others cannot and his flexibility to accept the impossible, his unusual wisdom and involvements with adult affairs from NASA to confrontations in Columbia hint of a maturity level far beyond a thirteen-year-old's abilities. This makes the story quite accessible to adult sci-fi thriller readers who might not ordinarily pick up a read featuring a teen protagonist. 

 

The deeper issues of honor, faith, and questionable alien intentions are neatly woven into a young boy's quickly-evolving personality as readers find themselves engrossed in an unexpected series of events once the initial platform of an incurable illness and impossible visions is presented in the opening chapters. The pleasure here is that an aura of predictability is crafted; then turned upside down, which creates an atmosphere of surprise not typical in most sci-fi alien invasion tales. 

 

Morgan Rice is a series writer. This means that, like her other productions, Transmission is not only the first in a series; but ends in a cliffhanger that leaves outcomes questionable and begs for continuation. 

 

Riveting, unexpected, and firmly rooted in strong psychological profiles backed with thriller and sci-fi elements: what more could readers wish for? (Just the quick publication of Book Two, Arrival.) 

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review 2017-10-16 19:45
An Epic YA Fantasy of Powerful Relationships
A Throne for Sisters (Book One) (Volume 1) - Morgan Rice

A Throne for Sisters is Book One in a new young adult fantasy series that opens with two teens stuck in a terrible orphanage. Sophia and Kate long to escape, and though they have a mutual goal and the shared experience of being unwanted in the world, each harbors different dreams of how they will find love once they leave the confines of their prison. 

 

Neither anticipates that the actions each must take to survive will bring each further from their objectives: Sophia's romantic dream of entering a privileged world, falling in love with a noble, and living the life of a court lady; or Kate's fiery passion to become a warrior woman, battling dragons and injustice alike. 

 

In reality, what transpires places each at odds not only with her goal, but with the psychic link that joins their minds and enables them to feel connected to the only person in their lives who cares. 

 

What they find in the world isn't hope, but a plodding form of despair that permeates the lives of people as much as overt oppression once ruled their own.

 

Caught up in war, court drama, and separation, the sisters must learn their own lessons about this strange new world, which is trapped in its own turmoil and its own definition of oppression. Each must make decisions about the course of her life which would seem to run contrary to all their dreams. 

 

The story line is reminiscent of Joan Aiken's Wolves of Willoughby Chase, with its brooding world of pain and change and the plight faced by two orphans who challenge both the outer world and themselves; but A Throne for Sisters is less black and white in its presentations of who is the villain and who the victim under such circumstances. 

 

One very satisfying feel to the plot lies in how the sisters' relationship to each other changes upon separation; and how they form their own identities in response to the choices and circumstances they confront in the wider world. 

 

Another fine element is how Kate and Sophia evolve in response to perceived methods of reaching their goals. Kate refines her observations of persona, for example, and this is very clear and well-described.

 

Some other stories may sound similar; but in the end it's the evolutionary process of the characters and how they define and direct their positions in the world which makes the tale - and if A Throne for Sisters is any indication, this powerful opener to the series will produce a combination of feisty protagonists and challenging circumstances to thoroughly involve not just young adults, but adult fantasy fans who seek epic stories fueled by powerful friendships and adversaries. 

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review 2017-07-09 17:46
My Review of A Quest of Heroes
A Quest of Heroes - Morgan Rice

A Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice is the first installment in The Sorcerer's Ring series. This is a coming of age story about 14 year old Thorgrin who prefers to be called Thor. His dream is to become a knight with the King’s Legion.

 

This story has everything I love in a fantasy story. There is mystery, betrayal, love, lust, and of course hate. I did feel as though things happened fairly quickly, but it was a good story. I can't wait to read the next installment.

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text 2017-05-13 22:34
DNF at 16%.
Rise of the Dragons (Kings and Sorcerers--Book 1) - Morgan Rice

I'm bored.

 

The first chapter showed promise, but I started feeling like I was reading off a Fantasy template and just couldn't get involved in the story.

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review 2016-05-26 00:00
Arena 1 (Book #1 in the Survival Trilogy)
Arena 1 (Book #1 in the Survival Trilogy) - Morgan Rice Set in a dystopian New York, it follows the lives of Brooke and her younger sister Bree as they try and survive after war destroyed their country. They also had to avoid slave runners who captured people to fight like gladiators in arenas, the worse one being Arena 1. Whilst Brooke is searching for a food a sick Bree is captured by the slave runners forcing Brooke to go and rescue her. Whilst racing after her she meets a Ben who’s younger brother was captured and together they go into the lion’s den and to try and rescue them.
Brooke is a marine’s daughter and this makes her a strong girl but with everything her body goes through to try and rescue her sister is unbelievable and I kept wondering how much more her body could take. Ben was quite a weak companion but as the story progressed he did become into his own and showed some fighting spirit.
The story was enjoyable and will carry on with the series to see what happens to the trio
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