Tag: review

Polaris by Mindee Arnett | Review

Posted January 9, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Polaris by Mindee Arnett | ReviewPolaris (Avalon, #2) by Mindee Arnett
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 20th 2015
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Pages: 432
Goodreads
three-stars

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of mercenaries are pulled into one last high-stakes mission in this breathtaking sequel to Mindee Arnett’s fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller Avalon.
Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. The ITA, still holding Jeth’s mother in a remote research lab, is now intent on acquiring the metatech secrets Jeth’s sister Cora carries inside her DNA, and Jeth is desperate to find the resources he needs to rescue his mother and start a new life outside the Confederation. But the ITA is just as desperate, and Jeth soon finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing him and his crew—dead or alive.
With nowhere to run and only one play left, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Daxton Price, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. Dax promises to help Jeth, but his help will only come at a price—a price that could mean sacrificing everything Jeth has fought for until now.
The conclusion to the story Mindee Arnett began in her acclaimed novel Avalon, Polaris is a dangerous journey into the spaces between power and corruption, life and death, the parts of ourselves we leave behind, and the parts we struggle to hold on to.

Polaris is the final book in the Avalon duology. The first book, Avalon, follows Jeth and his band of friends who steal space ships for an interstellar crime boss. I thought the first book had a ton of potential and was a fun ride. It deals with a Bermuda triangle-like part of space that messes with the threads of reality, and set up a lot of potential for the second book.

This series ran out of time, sadly. It’s one of those rare instances where a trilogy would have been a better fit than a duology. It packed a lot of information into the second book, and it didn’t have enough time to wrap everything up successfully. There were so many points that weren’t explored enough, and whether it was character relationships, character development, or cool elements of the world. I can always use more description of scifi tech, particularly in this world where a lot of interesting, unique things were introduced, but so many of the elements were dropped. Even the villain felt one dimensional in a lot of ways.

I wish this series had more time. It was still fun, but it could have been so much more.

three-stars

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Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman | Review

Posted January 8, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman | ReviewIlluminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20th 2015
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Pages: 599
Goodreads

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge | Review

Posted January 8, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge | ReviewCruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1) by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 28th 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 352
Goodreads

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

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The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani | Review

Posted January 8, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani | ReviewThe School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1) by Soman Chainani
Published by HarperCollins on May 14th 2013
Genres: MG Fantasy
Pages: 488
Goodreads

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.
This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.
But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?
The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

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The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie | Review

Posted January 7, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie | ReviewThe Abyss Surrounds Us (The Abyss Surrounds Us, #1) by Emily Skrutskie
Published by Flux on February 8th 2016
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Pages: 273
Goodreads

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.
There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.
But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she's not about to stop.

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Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman | ARC Review

Posted January 7, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman | ARC ReviewBlackhearts (Blackhearts, #1) by Nicole Castroman
Published by Simon Pulse on February 9th 2016
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Goodreads

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

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Low Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope | Review

Posted January 7, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Low Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope | ReviewLow, Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope (Low, #1) by Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini
Published by Image Comics on March 28th 2015
Genres: Adult, Adult Science Fiction, Graphic Novel
Pages: 144
Goodreads
dnf

Millennia ago, mankind fled the earth's surface into the bottomless depths of the darkest oceans. Shielded from a merciless sun's scorching radiation, the human race tried to stave off certain extinction by sending robotic probes far into the galaxy to search for a new home among the stars. Generations later, one family is about to be torn apart in a conflict that will usher in the final race to save humanity from a world beyond hope. Dive into an aquatic fantasy like none you've ever seen before, as writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent, Uncanny Avengers) and artist Greg Tocchini (Last Days of American Crime) bring you a tale mankind's final hour in the cold, deathly dark of the sea.
Collects LOW #1-6

Rick Remender is a pretty popular creator in the graphic novel community, so I thought I’d try out Low: The Delirium of Hope to see how I felt about it and if I wanted to try out anything else by him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me, and I knew that within a few pages. I maybe made it through one issue before deciding to DNF. In the first few pages, there is so much gratuitous female nudity, with no male nudity to match it. So it felt very “male gaze” to me. Also, I did not like the art style. Couple that with the fact that the series is over the top disturbing for the sake of being gross, and I wanted nothing to do with it. This is not the series for me, and after hearing more about Remender’s other series, I don’t think I’ll be trying out anything else by him either.

dnf

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The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness | Review

Posted January 6, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness | ReviewThe Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1) by Patrick Ness
Published by Walker on May 5th 2008
Genres: YA Dystopian
Pages: 479
Goodreads

Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard | Review

Posted January 6, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard | ReviewTruthwitch (The Witchlands, #1) by Susan Dennard
Published by Tor Teen on January 5th 2016
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 415
Goodreads

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

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Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery | Review

Posted January 6, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery | ReviewRat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch
Published by Image Comics on April 8th 2014
Genres: Adult Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Pages: 128
Goodreads
five-stars

Who are the Rat Queens?
A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they're in the business of killing all god's creatures for profit.
It's also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!
Collecting Rat Queens #1-5!

This is such a fun graphic novel series! Rat Queens follows a band of all lady Dungeons and Dragons-type adventurers who fight monsters, make trouble, and frequent the pub. This is going to be a great series for fans of RPGs, as there are so many references to video game and D&D mechanics. It’s as if the series is winking and nodding to RPG fans. Even if you aren’t an RPG player, this series has so much for everyone. The Rat Queens are a varied band, with women of all sizes, races, and sexualities. They are all quick witted, funny, and unique. I was so excited to learn more of their backstories and see what else this series has to offer.

Unfortunately, I will not be continuing this series after Volume 3 due to choices made by the creative team to welcome back the co-creator (who was arrested for domestic violence), after they had told the female artist that he would not be coming back and that she would be the artist moving forward. It was a shitty mess. If you want to know more about this in detail, this article goes into all of it. Now, as of late 2016, the series is going on a print hiatus and will only be a webcomic for a while. I’m wondering if the backlash caused this series to flounder. Which is such a shame, as it had so much promise and I would have gladly continued if the co-creator did not return.

So while I adore this series, and plan to read those first few volumes, I ultimately know I will not be continuing and can’t really recommend it to others based on that. Unless you, like me, go into it knowing the experience is going to end earlier than it should.

five-stars

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