logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: a-little-on-the-darkside
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-09-14 03:14
A Sweet Story of First Love Wrapped in a SF Shell
Darkside Earther - Bradley Horner

I really didn’t think it could get any better than this.

 

But as with all tales of happiness, there’s always a floating cloud of crap over our heads just waiting for the touch of gravity to send it falling.

 

Axel is a not a typical teen, but he's not a-typical. Hundreds years in the future, he lives on a massive space station in orbit above Earth. His parents are people of influence and importance on the station, and he's being raised to join them. But that's not at all what he wants. He's a middling student, at best, all he really wants to do is make art and fall in love -- hopefully with one particular girl from his classes. Maybe play a few video games (they're far more immersive than anything we can possibly come up with -- and are called something else, but they're essentially what I used to play on an Intellivision).

 

Helen doesn't have his artistic inclinations or abilities, but she shares his political apathy, his love of video games, his odd sense of humor and other interests (I was tempted to say that she shares his obsession with her appearance, but that's not entirely fair to her). Her family is historically (and currently) a pretty Big Deal on Earth. Her immediate family is on this space station in part to work on behalf of the people on Earth. I don't have as strong of a sense of her as I do Axel -- at least not one I could express. That's primarily on me -- but it's also part of the book, it's Axel's story, and we know him much better.

 

The book begins spending a little time with their courtship after setting the stage -- it's very easy to get caught up in the happiness and forget about that floating cloud of crap. Then they hit a pretty major road-bump -- and then just when you get caught up in their clever ways around their obstacles, life for everyone on the station plunges into chaos.

 

Some bar owner once said, "it doesn't take much to see that the problems of ... little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world" with an eye to the horrors of World War II around him. Axel and Helen have a bigger conflict, and more suffering, around them -- and their problems are even smaller in comparison. But that won't stop you from being drawn to their plight (and their joy, determination, and courage, too). What these two (and their friends) go through is enough to derail relationships, families, movements -- and while you'd understand why both of them would bail on their romance, you can't help but root for these crazy kids.

 

It would've been understandable, and so very easy, to turn the parents into the villains of the piece -- even just one set. But Horner resisted that, and even has Axel realizing they're all just doing what they think is right and best -- even if that's diametrically opposed to what their children want/believe.

 

This isn't technically YA, but it's YA-friendly. Maybe even MG-friendly, come to think of it. It's suitable for SF readers of all ages, let's just say. Horner writes like the best SF writers used to in a way that's approachable and appealing to all audiences. I wish more did that. I could say a lot about the science of the space station -- and the cultures created by it, both in orbit and on the ground; or the politics; or the technology; the human biology . . . basically the SF-ness of it. I'm not going to, because of time, space required -- and frankly, the human elements, the characters are what counts.

 

I wasn't that sure this book was going to work for me, but I'm glad I gave it a chance, because this thing won me over (pretty quickly, I should add) -- it had to be Axel and his way of looking at life that drew me in and then pretty much everything else kept me there. It's hopeful, almost optimistic (given the harshness of the reality of humanity's situation, that's an accomplishment), you can enjoy huge swaths of it. It's a love story, it's the beginning of a SF epic, and you will fall under its spell if you give it half a chance. There are some big ideas here, but it's a pretty small story, where people and their feelings are more important (and more interesting) than conflict, technological wonders, and everything else.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2016-09-20 14:42
Meh
The Darkside War (The Icarus Corps) - Zachary Brown

Dark side war by Zachery Brown

 

So, I promised you a review of this book and here it is.   First, a caveat, I read this book as part of my awards read.   The good thing about this reading method is that you occasionally find books that really surprise you, surpassing your expectations.  The down side is, that you are just as likely to come across books that simply weren’t written for you.  Books that are written in a writing style/voice that leaves you cold or a genre that you just don’t get on with.   This book falls into the latter camp.   If you like what I call ‘mainstream genre” fiction you will like this book.  But, I prefer books that have a more experimental structure and/or lyrical language style.   So, this book is not for me.

Synopsis

 

“Aliens have conquered Earth, but they haven’t conquered humanity—yet. A young army conscript battles for survival in this action-packed futuristic thriller that will appeal to fans of Halo and Inglorious Bastards.

People used to wonder if we were alone in the universe. Well, we’re not. Not by a long shot. Aliens come in all shapes and sizes, and even the good guys are likely to haunt your nightmares. And oh, you’ll have nightmares, even after you leave the service. If you leave the service.

Devin is a reluctant conscript to an alien-run army: when the Accordance conquered Earth, they said it was to prepare against the incoming alien Conglomeration forces. But as Devin travels to the dark side of the moon for boot camp and better acquaints himself with his so-called allies, his loyalties are increasingly tested. Because the enemy of the enemy is not always a friend. Sometimes...” http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/The-Darkside-War/Zachary-Brown/The-Icarus-Corps/9781481430357

 

Sample Quotes

“I stood at attention. My boots dug into the sad, scraggly patch of open field that was all that remained of what had once been called Central Park, and I remembered standing in the middle of a baseball field here, once. A long time ago.”  Page  1.

 

This book had a diverse range of characters.   The characters represented different ethnic groups.  There were interesting girl/women characters.  The characters had different levels of power/privilege.   They came from different political perspectives and had very different views on how to deal with their alien conquerors.   

 

To me, this novel felt disjointed.   It felt like it was divided into 3 distinct sections; each of which opened questions that weren’t satisfactory answered.    The first section, a rebellion narrative, was an interesting look at how earthlings would deal with an alien invasion, asking how many would rebel and who would acquiesce; for what reasons? It would have been interesting to explore these sections further.  But, then we and Devin are whizzed into space and intro the second section of the novel which is set in a kind of boot camp; where earthlings are tested, trained and killed by their alien overlords.  This could have been an interesting look at conquest and how people can fight for their overlords.  It could have been an interesting look at the differing earthlings and how they survive this environment and the social conditions that they found there.  To a limited extent it was. But, that was short.  Since, then we were catapulted into section three and into a tradition alien shoot out; which, I found really boring. 

 

As you see from the quote at the beginning of this review, the writing was workaday/mainstream.  Which, while did work as first person narration from a teenage boy and made the work easy to scan, made the text feel boring to a reader who prefers a more lyrical/ experimental form of prose.   To me the professionalism of the writing wasn’t exciting and didn’t feel like the speech of a young boy under stress. Surely, Devin’s speech would have been more fragmented, and less structured.  So, if you like YA type books with fairly diverse characters, set in a dark space landscape, then this book is for you.  But, this book was not for me.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-09-15 16:09
Darkside Sun by Jocelyn Adams
Darkside Sun - Jocelyn Adams
The world of Mortal Machine is amazing. I loved the concept of the rifts, the secret society, their abilities, and the strange creatures that hung Addison. She started seeing rifts when she was young, but never imagined just what they really were and why they seemed to follow her. She's a great character, full of emotion and reality. So when that reality cracks (literally) she goes into a strange spiral, and only her stubborn streak seems to keep her sane and moving forward.
 
Asher is a dick. Even when he's being nice he's a dick. He seems to have his reasons and we get a glimpse of these near the end. I've seen this labeled a romance, and perhaps it turns into one, but right now it definitely isn't. Lots of romantic elements floating around, but definitely not what I would call a HEA or HFN ending.
 
The members of Mortal Machine are all quite unique in their own ways. From the outfitter to the soldiers, each personality adds a little something to the world and Addison's perception of what is going on. One of them is up to no good though - some serious no good. And when Addison tries to find out who it is, she finds out all sorts of crazy stuff about herself. 
 
I love how Jocelyn Adams revealed new aspects of the characters. It had such a natural flow and while much of it was a surprise, it all made sense and really clicked together as soon as it happened. Her trail of breadcrumbs was impeccable. I need to find out what happens next now!
 
*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
Source: www.hotofftheshelves.com/2016/09/darkside-sun-by-jocelyn-adams.html
Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-04-16 00:00
A Walk On The Darkside
A Walk On The Darkside - Corinna Underwood Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration.

Though considered to be Occult Horror, A Walk on the Darkside doesn’t really fit into the genre. I would call it a series of paranormal mysteries more than anything, and often with unexpected – but believable – twists. Pearl Blackthorn is a skeptic, whereas her photographer partner is a believer of things that go bump-in-the-night. Between the two of them, they investigate a series of ‘true’ hauntings for the serial they both work for.

From post-hypnotic suggestions to the ‘magic’ of magic ‘shrooms, there always a logical explanation to each of the happenings in each of these short stories. At the same time there’s almost always a bit of the unexplainable, too. This serves the purpose of giving the reader a sense of satisfaction whilst maintaining an air of wonder. Works out rather well for each of the stories contained within.

The last section of the book is a series of character confidentials wherein the three main characters answer a few questions about themselves. Neither good nor bad, this section didn’t appeal to me at all, but I can see how some people would enjoy it.

Overall, the short stories are entertaining and the faint tinge of the paranormal instead of liberal dashes make the stories feel ‘believable’. The stories themselves are short enough that even a slow reader could easily finish one per lunch period over the course of a week. The mysteries themselves aren’t very mysterious at all, but given how short these stories are, that’s a bit of a necessity and something the reader can put down to the keen observational skills of Pearl Blackthorn to soothe their ego-injured inner sleuth.
Like Reblog Comment
review 2015-08-31 00:00
The Darkside War (The Icarus Corps)
The Darkside War (The Icarus Corps) - Zachary Brown This book had the basics of a good story but it felt like the author did not take advantage of this in actually telling the story. It felt rushed and almost incomplete in this...

2.5 stars for a story that could have been good.
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?