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review 2018-01-09 00:46
Unutterably brilliant dystopian SF
Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe) - Neal Shusterman

Disclaimer: review based on an uncorrected digital proof via NetGalley.

 

Guys. Guys, listen. This was ridiculously good. I feel like the first time I picked up a Scott Westerfeld book (it was Uglies, btw). One for the record books.

 

Ok, yes, Scythe was brilliant and I loved it and it got one of my very rare 5 star reviews last year, but it just KEEPS GETTING BETTER. This is dystopian SF at its best; insightful, natural, emotional, relatable, engaging, stress-inducingly tense, original, shocking . . . how many more adjectives can I cram in here?

 

The technology and vision of a utopian AI-controlled future feels like a plausible extension of our current moment. And how many authors can make an entire series about death and still make it readable? The way the Thunderhead explores a Judeo-Christian vision of a personal god is also fascinating.

 

Book 1 scythe apprentices Citra and Rowan have graduated to next-generation leader and antihero respectively. I can't get over how great newcomer Greyson's progression is, too. And the way the Thunderhead AI has a character arc? What? The twists and reveals in this are gonna kill you. And if they don't, that ending just might. I CAN'T wait a year for more!! TToTT

 

Ok, so Citra is now Scythe Anastasia, and is rocking the boat by giving her (victims? gleanees? um.) time to come to terms with and define the method of their deaths. Rowan's gone rogue as an underground vigilante scythe murdering all the corrupt scythes. Greyson's an isolated loner that the Thunderhead brought up when his parents abandoned him. His dream is to become a civil servant out of appreciation for it. The Thunderhead's just trying to help everyone and keep them from destroying themselves and their world, dammit. Everyone's hopes and dreams get twisted around and undermined and melted and there's betrayal and shock and horror and lots of murder and also grand conspiracies and sacrifice and emo teen rebels and some mostly offscreen romance and the ending is brutal and I can't wait for more.

 

So pardon me while I go and binge-read everything Shusterman's ever written. BRB.

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review 2018-01-03 15:11
Abandoning this series.
A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) - Sherry Thomas

After reading 'A Study in Scarlet Woman' and not being all that excited I thought I'd go ahead and give this a try since it was available at the library. Maybe the book would improve my impressions of the series. Maybe I might like it better. 

 

Nah. Overall the book is a great disappointment. I had hoped we'd see more of Charlotte Holmes as being a detective now that the series has been set and we're not dealing with an introductory origin story for her. This time Charlotte has been tasked with finding the love interest of a friend of hers, Lady Ingram. The love interest? Charlotte's brother. 

 

It seemed like an interesting premise that would possibly explore more of Charlotte's family but instead the story gets bogged down in details. Charlotte gets a love interest (sigh, this is what I had hoped the series would avoid). There are some rather convenient developments that tie up the storyline in some ways and possibly frees up another (?) love interest for Charlotte. Again, not really something I had hoped for to see in this.

 

The book is well-rated which puzzles me. At this point I think I'll just skip anything else Thomas reads. I tried her historical romance, YA fantasy trilogy and now this. I applaud that she's trying out different genres but in the end she's not an author I'll follow. 

 

Library.  Also really recommend you read the first in the series so you get more info on the characters as I read a few reviews from people who read this but not the first book. You'll likely be very confused, even if you know the original.

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review 2017-12-31 18:48
The Sun King Conspiracy
The Sun King Conspiracy - Yves Jégo,Denis Lépée,Sue Dyson

Or, to mangle a title of Rex Stout, Too Many Conspiracies.

 

Seriously, I lost count of the plots and plot lines; there were too many of both.  Unfortunately one of the plots is of the "overarching universal religious conspiracy" variety. 

 

There was also a side of "As You Know, Bob."

 

I think there was a decent historical novel in here, fighting to get out.  But it didn't.

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review 2017-12-05 22:30
Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan, narrated by Penelope Rawlins
Talulla Rising - Penelope Rawlins,Glen Duncan

 

When I was listening to THE LAST WEREWOLF, I wasn't sure I would continue on with the series. I liked the bloodiness of it, and I enjoyed the world building, but was less than thrilled with the tons of graphic sex going on.

EAT, FUCK, KILL is the werewolf mantra.

(spoiler show)

 

However, there was such a great hook at the end of the narrative AND the library had the audio of this one in stock, and here we are!

 

Right now, I feel the same way as I did when I finished the first book in the series. Here there were many surprises, (maybe too many to be believed, but hey-it's a werewolf book), and a good amount of action. However, I didn't feel that the quality of the writing was quite as good as THE LAST WEREWOLF.

 

Once again, close to the end, there is another surprising tidbit that makes me want to continue on with the series. This time, though, I'm going to read a few books in between, and then see if I still feel like continuing.

 

*I checked this audio out from my local library for FREE. LIBRARIES RULE!*

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review 2017-12-02 03:01
The Third Sequel of The Queen's Thief Almost Fall Short.
A Conspiracy of Kings (Queen's Thief) - Megan Whalen Turner

This was a hard decision on whether I would give it a 3 or a 4 star rating but in the end, the overall of the book won a 4. It took me a while to finish this (again, I am beginning to delay in reading) when I began since October and now its December already! Anyway, once again I love how the world building is but the 3rd sequel focus on a young Sophos, last seen in The Thief, in his perspective on how he became the King of Sounis. After been captive by Medes (twice), slaved and fought back, A Conspiracy of Kings has every thing as it turns out except that I felt the first few chapters were very slow. As how it was delivered, the promising part of unexpected events turns out well in the consistency of writing, character and plot. While (been bias now) I rooted for more Eugenides to appear in this book, his appearance is much lesser but when he does appear, its once again a favorable wind that perks up the reading. Still, this is one series I am still in any way following due to its writing and world building. Of course, I can't wait to see what will happen next and I am one book away to read Thick as Thieves and hope I can read it when time permits. This, again, is a book I would recommend to anyone who started from the beginning.

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