I own many of these but have so far only read one, Binti.
A Storm that will wreck a world threatens Dematr. Only Mari, one of the Mechanics who control all technology through their Guild, has a chance to stop it. She and Mage Alain have survived numerous attempts to kill them and have gained many more followers, but the Storm of chaos, born of centuries of enslavement, grows ever closer.
Mari leads an army now. She and Alain must fight together to bind back the Broken Kingdom and build a force strong enough to defeat the might of the Great Guilds. But the Storm has many Servants who seek to preserve or gain personal power or wealth, or fear the New Day that Mari seeks to bring to the world.
And Mari knows that victory will mean nothing if the precious knowledge brought long ago to their world is destroyed. In order to save it, Alain and Mari will have to pierce through the heart of their enemies' power and confront once more a place of ancient nightmare.
This story is the fifth book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!
Mari is a fantastic character. I liked her immediately when I met her in the first book. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. A Master Mechanic, Mari has faced many threats to her life from the Guild Masters on the world of Dematr and survived. Foreseen by Mages to be 'The Daughter of Jules' and fated to free the world of Dematr from the tyranny of both the Guilds - Mechanics and Mages - and to unite the Mechanics, Mages and Commons against said Guilds, Mari finds herself fighting for their freedom.
Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot from the start. He was one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status at the age of seventeen. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. I love how this character has grown as the series has progressed. He tries to show more emotion, even though his Guild had virtually beaten it out of him. He hides a dry wit under that emotionless mask.
I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. MacLeod Andrews once again narrates the story. He does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflexions and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would listen to more books read by this narrator.
The story continues six months from the end of The Pirates of Pacta Servanda and sees Mari and Alain heading a mixed army of Mages, Mechanics and Commons as the action heats up. Mechanic Caylou (not sure of spelling as I listened to the story so have no reference and have spelt it phonetically - it could be Kayloo or another variation) makes another appearance. He is one of Mari's friends from the Mechanics Guild, along with his girlfriend, Ally, who also makes an appearance. I love her constant use of 'Your Daughterness' when speaking to Mari just because it annoys her. Mage Asha also makes another appearance, as does Mage Dov, who is Asha's uncle, and Mechanic Dov (no relation) whose relative had once lived in Marandur. Cien, a princess of Tae, plays a significant role in this story, too. There are a few more characters added, but it would take me too long to mention them all.
I love the world building in this series. It is familiar though strange at the same time. It has a mix of steampunk and modern day technology, but this is due to the way the Guilds restricted people from creating new things. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. In this story, the characters are gathering together for a showdown with the Great Guilds. They also make a dangerous journey back into the Imperial territory of Marandur to retrieve the mechanical texts left at the University. The action is ramping up further as the storyline reaches towards the climax, and I found myself holding my breath more than once as they faced several tricky challenges. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt utterly emersed in it? It happened to me as I listened to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger, which had me eager to listen to the next story in the series, The Wrath of the Great Guilds, as soon as possible.
Jack Campbell has written a fantastic science fiction series. I have added him to my favourite author's list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast-paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.
Although there is now some mention of scenes of a sexual nature, it’s not shown. I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton
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I definitely enjoyed this one more. Mostly because with Lana being forced to run her family's restaurant, we get to see her take charge more. She and her sister still squabble a lot, but you can see where they are both coming from while reading. Due to the murder of two of the owners (Isabelle and her husband Brandon) in Asia Village, many customers and owners are starting to think that one of the storefronts is unlucky. Lana was close with Isabelle and is determined to identify her murderer. Will say there seems to be a hard pause in Lana's barely there relationship with Detective Adam Trudeau. I got to read an excerpt of the next book, and there may be another love interest that I hope we see Lana get excited about. She and Adam have zero chemistry.
"Dim Sum of All Fears" has Lana dealing with her parents leaving her in charge of the noodle shop while they fly back to Taiwan to see about her grandmother. Though Lana has an opportunity to interview for a new job, she realizes she won't be able to have both. To make matters a little worse, her sister is bent of out shape she's been put in charge, there is a lot of things going on since Chinese New Year is around the corner, and oh yeah, two people were found murdered in their store. These new murders touch Lana a lot more than the last one since she was close to one of the victims, Isabelle. Lana felt ambivalent about Brandon since the guy was never around. And even Isabelle started to notice it. I really loved the twists and turns this book takes with finding out about Brandon's past.
I did like Lana and Megan more in this one. They really are becoming a fascinating duo of amateur sleuthing. Lana I think felt more sure of herself in this one, even with her blue hair. I do wish that she and her sister would quit fighting. I think Lana's sister is jealous of her, though I get why Lana is annoyed her sister keeps making snide remarks.
Also Lana's relationship with Detective Trudeau seems to be cooling. They have zero chemistry. Lana at one point asks him why did he become a cop and he refuses to tell her. I was fed up with him. I also didn't like Megan saying she would investigate him to find out what is going on. Just ignore the guy if he isn't interested in having a real relationship. Their dates sounded lame too.
The writing was good and so was the flow. I do think there wasn't any problems that I could see off the top off my head.
I am friends with a lot of Taiwanese people and I know that Chinese New Year is a very big deal. I wish that Ms. Chien had gone into that more. I know that you are supposed to clean I think three days before the start of Chinese New Year. I think you are supposed to cook the day before. Things like that would have made the book more interesting to a lot of people.
I do hope that we don't always get someone pulling a weapon on Lana, that kind of stuff will get old in a series really quick.
IT GOT IN US
After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.
MOST ARE DEAD
But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.
DON’T SET FOOT HERE AGAIN
As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.
~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~
I wasn't sure what to expect with this…the only other books by Erin Bowman that I've read have been YA Westerns. This is way different than those books. I'll admit, early on, I thought she was jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, with this deep space horror/thriller based on a crazy virus. It felt an awful lot like Illuminae. Within no time though, that thought was out of my head, because I was hooked on this compelling story. With zombie-like symptoms, this mysterious virus is seriously frightening. It does end on a total cliffhanger, but I'm not even upset about that because I cannot wait to listen to the second book which is set to come out in July of 2019.
☆5☆STARS - GRADE=A+
~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~
Main Characters~ 5/5
Secondary Characters~ 5/5
The Feels~ 4.8/5
Theme or Tone~ 5/5
Flow (Writing Style)~ 5/5
Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.5/5
Ending~ 5/5 Cliffhanger~ Yeah…you could say that.
Book Cover~ Love it…especially the colors in it.
Narration~ Amy McFadden
Series~ Contagion #1
Setting~ The Planet Achlys
Source~ Audiobook (Library)
I used this for Dead Lands Square in Halloween Bingo 2018