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review 2018-07-26 13:04
Fun sci-fi for lovers of action, genetics, and intriguing monsters.
Survivors' Club - Ann M. Martin

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and thank Rosie Amber (check here if you would like to have your book reviewed) and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.

Let me start by saying that this book is a pretty wild ride. I quote one of the Amazon reviewers (Eric Witchey) because he says it very well and more concisely than I can (as those who read my reviews know all too well): If Andromeda Strain had mutant, undead Cthulhu babies, this would be the offspring. Yes, indeed. Those of you who follow my blog and my reviews probably know I read some science-fiction but I’m not a big authority on it and it is not one of my default genres. But somehow, when I read the description of this book and the biography of the author, I decided to give it a go. I’ve been interested in genetics since long before I decided to study Medicine, and although I pursued a different line of work, I know I’m not alone in following new discoveries and studies on that field. The book also promised plenty of action, and the author’s own military experience and her degree in psychology intrigued me as well.

The story is narrated in third-person from a variety of characters’ points of view, although each chapter is only told from one point of view, so there is no head-hopping or confusion (although due to the frantic pace the story moves at once the infection starts, it’s important to remain attentive). The three main characters are a scientist (a geneticist), Marius, the head of security at Chrysalis Biopharmaceuticals, John Courage (perfect name), and Miranda, the 18-year-old daughter of the company’s CEO (she joins them later in the book, during the first appearance of the monster/infection). Other members of Chrysalis and other settings also play a part and help create a more rounded view of the events and provide an outsider’s evaluation of the characters. Although there are no lengthy disquisitions, navel-gazing, or tons of biographical information, the main characters are fleshed-out, and they have their quirks (Marius is quite nerdy, with a love of British TV series, while Miranda is a credible young girl, at times losing focus of what is at stake to moan about lack of TV, and she can easily be swayed by the winning smile of a charmer, while John is strong and professional but not without his humanities), their strengths and weaknesses.

The voices of the characters are credible and they use the jargon and technical terms appropriate to their jobs and positions, although the alternating points-of-view ensure that we gain the necessary knowledge from other characters who are also novices, and the story is not difficult to follow, without ever falling into dumbing down or easy explanation. There are likeable and less likeable characters and we get to change our minds about some of them as we read, but I think most readers will find somebody to identify with or care about (and a few individuals to hate too, not to mention the monstruous creature, which has more nuances and is far more intriguing than at first might appear).

The first part of the novel is mostly about setting up the characters and introducing the background information (equivalent to world building) necessary to fully appreciate later the scale of the threat and the difficulties in navigating Chrysalis. The company and its labs are set in an isolated location and their procedures and features turn it into a complex and effective setting for the action scenes, as eerie and creepy as the gothic mansions of the classic horror genre.

The writing is nimble, the scientific and the security topics are well-researched, the action scenes very visual and gritty, showing the expertise of the author, the pace increases as the infection/invasion advances; there is gore, the creatures… Well, the Cthulhu mention is quite apt. There is humour and there are lighter moments, although towards the end of the novel there is not much letting off and the rhythm ramps up to a mad crescendo.

There are pop culture references and some themes running through the novel (what happened in Argentina?) that will amuse some readers more than others, but I feel they add to the atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed the mix of danger and humour, the realism and inside knowledge of how the ex-army security personnel worked and their esprit de corps, and the way the three seemingly disparate protagonists come to know and care for each other. Ah, and there is no explicit love story (there are hints at possible loving feelings between some of the characters but, thankfully, no true or fake romance going on. Hooray!).

The is a sample of the catalogue from the publishers, Not a Pipe Publishing (I love Magritte as well), at the very end of the book, so don’t get too comfortable while you read it, as it will end before you expect it, but the blurbs of the novels made me feel very curious and I’ll have to try to explore it further.

Talking about the ending, yes, it ends with a promise of more adventures and a twist that did not surprise me but I found satisfying. (Oh, and I’ve also read that the author is thinking about writing a short story about what happened in Argentina for her subscribers. I think that’s a great idea and something I was thinking of suggesting as well). I wonder if adding a list of abbreviations or technical terms at the end might assist readers in not missing a single detail, but it is not essential.

In sum, a wild ride, with plenty of thrilling action, scarily credible science, likeable and relatable characters, good doses of humour, in a great setting, and with horrifying and intriguing monsters, who are not, by far, as guilty as the corporate greedy industry behind the plot. I recommend it to lovers of adventures set in a scientific/genetic research environment, especially those who like their monsters to go beyond easy scares. An author to keep an eye on.

 

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review 2018-07-25 14:35
Review: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab
Our Dark Duet - Victoria Schwab

 

THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY. KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it. AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost. THE WAR HAS BEGUN. THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING. Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons. Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

 

 

 

OMG this book was about the death of me ….. Really and still sorta is. I don’t even know really what to say about this book without spoiling things. All I know is if you are not a fan of dark and emotional books, you really should skip these. But while the books are pretty dark and can be heart breaking they were also so very beautiful, fulfilling and just pure awesomeness at the same time . I really enjoyed book one and the world setting but I loved book two even more, just everything about it, The people, the story the building up of the awesome ending. It was killing me softly but I loved every minute if this book. August is one of my all-time favorite character and it was just awesome to follow him and his struggles. Kate , man I really liked her too . But what I liked about it more was Kate and August together, not as a couple which was refreshing, but the friendship they had . They just made each other so much better and stronger. Again I’m not sure what all there is to say without spoiling it so I just make it short and sweet .. I loved this book, the characters and the world so much and I was sad to see it end.

 

I rate it full 5 ★

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon *** B&N *** Kobo 

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/07/25/review-our-dark-duet-monsters-of-verity-2-by-victoria-schwab
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review 2018-07-23 15:52
Review: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab
This Savage Song - Victoria Schwab

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

I was blow away by this book. It was just really different from what I read before.

It took me a couple chapters to get into the setting and world, because it’s different but it was a very easy concept to adept to and dive into.

It is a pretty dark and scary world but also was easy to relate and understand. There is not much I can say without spoiling it so I will make it short.

As I said I really loved that it is a new world something we don’t see everywhere, I loved the characters. They never just black and white and with a bunch of nice plot twists they never do what you think they will .

I loved both Kate and August. Both had their strengths and weaknesses but together they were a great team and balanced each other out. I also enjoyed that Kate seemed to be tougher at times than August, her being human and him being a “monster’ and all . But I think what I enjoyed most was the awesome friendship instead of romance, so far.

Overall it was something fresh that was actin packed , thrilling and had many twist and turns, it was super fun and fast to read and I had a hard time putting it down.

The end was semi unexpected and I’m very much looking forward to book two .

I rate this book a full 5 ★

Buy Links

Amazon *** B&N *** Kobo 

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/07/23/review-this-savage-song-monsters-of-verity-1-by-victoria-schwab
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review 2018-07-23 00:58
MY FAVORITE THINGS IS MONSTERS by Emil Ferris
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters - Emil Ferris
Loved it!  Had a hard time putting it down.  Karen is 12 and her upstairs neighbor has been murdered--suicide according to police but the evidence points to murder.  Karen wants to know who killed Anka, the neighbor.  To do that she must find out about Anka's past and how it connects with her family.  Karen also wants to be a monster and live forever.  That part's not working out so well.
 
I loved Karen and her older brother Deeze (DZ).  Tough times lie ahead for them.  They have an interesting bunch of neighbors and acquaintances.  As Karen eavesdrops to learn what is being kept from her, she is also on her own interesting adventures that scare her mother and Deeze when she goes off missing at times.  Learning about Anka's life is eye opening as are the lives of some of the neighbors.
 
This is a cliffhanger and I have to get the next book to find out who killed Anka and what the ending of this book means to Karen.
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text 2018-07-10 22:59
2018 Hugo Ballot: Best Graphic Novel
Black Bolt (2017-) #1 - Leonard Bacon;Joseph Parrish Thompson;Richard Salter Storrs;Henry Ward Beecher;Joshua Leavitt;Henry Chandler Bowen;Theodore Tilton;William Hayes Ward;Hamilton Holt;Harold de Wolf Fuller;Fabian Franklin;Christian Archibald Herter,Saladin Ahmed
Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch - Kelly Sue DeConnick
Monstress Volume 2: The Blood - Marjorie M. Liu
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters - Emil Ferris
Paper Girls Volume 3 - Brian K. Vaughan
Saga, Volume 7 - Fiona Staples,Brian K. Vaughan

This is part of a series of posts reviewing categories in this year's Hugo ballot. I'll be discussing the entries, the voter packet, and my ballot. I've nominated and voted most years since 2011, when I figured out that all I had to do was join Worldcon to get to do so.

 

I'd only read 2 of these in advance of the finalist announcement. Two more are properties I'm familiar with from earlier volumes.

 

  • Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time, written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Marvel) - 3.5 stars, loved the art and liked the writing. Still laughing that his name is Blackagar Boltagon. 

 

  • Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics) 4.5 Stars, this one I adored to much to even put into words.

 

  • Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image Comics) -  4 Stars, a stronger book than the first one in terms of pacing, and with the same gorgeous art.

 

  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters, written and illustrated by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics) - Interesting concept, but very slow. I didn't actually finish this book.

 

  • Paper Girls, Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image Comics) - 3.5 Stars, did not love.

 

  • Saga, Volume 7, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics) - 3 Stars, fine, but kind of a low point for the series so far.

 

So Bitch Planet is definitely at the top, followed by Monstress and Black Bolt. The other three could go in any order, but maybe I'll just leave them off because I don't really feel strongly about them at all. 

 

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