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text 2017-08-14 03:11
Book 44/100: Through the Evernight by Veronica Rossi
Through the Ever Night - Veronica Rossi

I didn't go back and read my review of the first book in this series, but I'm pretty sure whatever I said there probably applies here, too. This is not an impressive dystopia -- it relies on  its love story because the world-building is only so-s0, but unfortunately the love story is only so-so as well. I just don't feel invested in Aria and Perry's relationship, so it was hard to really care when a bit of a love triangle (or love square? It was hard to tell whether there was supposed to be something romancy happening between two of the characters) that developed here, especially since it was more-or-less devoid of any real tension because the other love interest was not fully developed or compelling in any way, although she had the feeling of a character that was created by trying too hard to do something interesting.

There were some moments when Perry just seemed dumb, like in allowing his clanmates to tattoo Aria in a ceremony with the potential to be dangerous even though he knew a bunch of them hated her -- I could have seen the way that would turn out, so why couldn't he? He might be a little too naive to make a good clan leader. There were also parts of this audiobook I had to listen to more than once because I lost interest and then lost the thread of the story; there were other places where that happened and I decided it just wasn't worth it to go back and catch myself up.

This book wasn't horrible, hence the ubiquitous three-star rating, but you won't miss much if you skip it, either. I'm certainly not going to bother reading the final installment in the trilogy.

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review 2017-08-09 23:17
Book 41/100: California by Edan Lupecki
California - Edan Lepucki

This felt more like a novel about a cult that happened to take place in a post-apocalyptic world than a post-apocalyptic novel.

That was OK with me. I like science fiction and fantasy that veers toward the literary, and that is definitely what "California" has going on, using the setting as a backdrop to explore complex human relationships, particularly between the married couple protagonists and the wife's charismatic brother. Still, this was not the sort of "meditation on marriage" that I've heard other reviewers call it; something about Frida and Cal's relationship always felt a little bit flat to me -- I was never fully invested in it. I was far more invested in the relationship between Frida, Cal, and Mikey, the charismatic leader of the community they find themselves attempting to be a part of after they have lived on their own in the wilderness for a couple years.

Frida's pregnancy, the inciting incident that convinces her they need to seek a wider community, raised interesting questions about what it means to parent and to plan for a future in a world that is dangerous and uncertain. The resolution to this question was not wholly satisfying. I also could have done with stronger world-building -- I got a sense of what the world was like post-apocalypse, but not exactly what had precipitated it, except something about an oil crisis? But I guess that's par for the course in "literary" science fiction -- it tends to leave the hardcore world-building to the hardcore genre writers.

So that's a fair amount of criticism for a book that I ultimately still gave four stars, but the book, the world, and the character dynamics did hold my interest from beginning to end. Wasn't thrilled with the narration, though, so probably wouldn't recommend the audio version.

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review 2017-07-08 20:57
Book 39/100: This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
This World We Live In - Susan Beth Pfeffer

This book was a disappointment after the first two in the series, both of which were vivid and riveting. Fortunately, I had been forewarned that this one was a bit lackluster, so I didn't go into it with expectations that were too high.

Mostly, it felt like a sequel that didn't really need to be written. I think the author (or publisher) felt compelled to tie the first two books together, but both of them are strong standalones and tying them together in this third volume felt forced. Plus, a lot of what happens in here is not very different from what happened in the earlier books -- the struggle to find enough food, the windfalls and disappointments, the highs and lows of living through an apocalypse, you know, that sort of thing.

And even though it's shorter than the other books in the series (I think), it has a lot more characters, so there was quite a bit to keep track of in the second half. The book started to feel "crowded" since several of the characters were not developed all that well. Also, I noticed some really weird gender things in this book that either were not present in the other two books or that just didn't strike me in the same way. But I think that Pfeffer might have some internalized sexism going on ... Miranda's mother was always very insistent that Miranda stay home while the boys were able to strike out and explore/adventure/etc., and Alex seemed to think that for some reason he got to decide what his sister's fate would be even though she was old enough to have some say in the matter. (Also, I think the decision the author made regarding Julia's storyline was absolutely atrocious). I liked Alex less in this book than in the book that is actually about him -- in this volume he came across as controlling and almost stereotypically pious.

For whatever reason there is yet one more book in this series, which I may or may not read. The first two books are great, but as far as I'm concerned you wouldn't be missing too much if you just stopped there.

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review 2017-07-04 13:35
post apocalyptic writing at its very best!
Lying In Ruins - Jami Gray
Charity is a Hound, she uses her skill to find things, people, information. When her task means she crosses paths with Fate's Vultures, a band of highly skilled people known for delivering a ruthless hand, Ruin sets off all sorts of alarm bells. Charity sets Ruin's alarms off too. When Ruin's enemy turns out to be Charity's, they have to work together. I've read everything by Jami Gray, and this one holds its own against those other books. But this is a far bloodier book that what came before. And I loved it for that!! Charity and Ruin makes no apologies for who and what they are, and if killing someone as slowly as possible gets them their answers, they will do that. But they don't just dish it, they take their beatings too,and the way Gray describes it, makes you feel with every single punch thrown and delivered! Set in a post apocalyptic world, some things remain the same, some things don't. I loved how Gray used buildings for things that was not their intended purpose, but she describes these places, you know exactly what they were. I loved the world building, or destroying as it were. You don't get it all in one go, and for me, that's the best way to deliver information, little bits at a time. I'm left with questions. Lots and lots of questions!! Who is behind it all? When did Ruin and Charity meet before, because that was hinted at and never explained. Is there another book?? How many books?? I want to know what's going on between Simon and Vex, because clearly there IS something. So many questions!! But that's a good thing, a really good thing as it kept me engaged and excited and interested from from to back. So, if you like your characters with a bit more bite, with secrets, with hidden agendas,and all those sorts of things, and your worlds a far more deadlier place, then this is for you. I've filed it on the darker/grittier and the over 18 shelf, because of the long and detailed violence. I can't give it any other word, I'm afraid! 5 full stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2017-06-19 02:18
Pilot bait
City of the Fallen - Diana Bocco

I went into it looking for a short fast candy.

 

It was all that, but I'm not convinced.

 

Beyond the issues I have with the insta-lust/love, heavy enough to make a gal betray her species, and all the hypocrisy going on here, I do not like cliff-hangers. Specially of this type, because it makes the purpose of the book little more than foundation for a hook.

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