An electronic copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
When I requested Inhuman I was drawn to the dystopian nature of the summary and the world going feral. Inhuman provided both of these things though I wasn’t sold on the presentation. A virus has spread over society and the only way the people can save themselves is by migrating and constructing a huge wall to keep everything out of their sterile world. I really liked how Falls handled the idea of a virus overrunning our society and how we might try to survive contained.
After making it into the forbidden lands I began to worry about the direction the story was going. The animal-human mutations veered on silly at times with their dialog, descriptions and fact that they were referred to as manimals. I admit that the descriptions were fairly accurate to how I would expect a hybrid to appear, but for some reason it came off almost goofy. As I read, I imagined what would happen if this was turned into a movie and how horrible I’m sure they would look.
This book falls under many of the typical young adult dystopian tropes. You have a naïve yet loyal, strong willed girl thrown into a situation she couldn’t possibly have dreamed of. Of course, she encounters two men that are complete opposites though they attract her for those differences. One guy is tall handsome, put together, honorable and heroic. The other is rough around the edges, rude but mushy on the inside.
As you can see there is a touch of the dreaded love triangle but not too much focus was spent on this aspect and the main character seemed to realize she should be focusing on the task at hand rather than her next love interest.
The beginning showed potential and there was a section (roughly around 45%) where I was really enjoying where things were going and the dialog between characters. I started to have high hopes that though I felt the manimals were silly this book would turn out to be one I overall enjoyed. Sadly, soon after this point the story took a turn and it felt like the book had an identity crisis. I wished that I could have enjoyed more than the small portion of the story.
I wish I could say I enjoyed this book more thoroughly. Inhuman felt very close to being good and I think with some reworking of the storyline it could have been much more successful. The author had some great dialog and her characters were very close to redeeming any problems with the story flow and issues of incongruent tone.
A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review
Entangled is fast paced, entertaining and an overall fun science fiction book. After rereading the summary I shouldn’t have been surprised like I was with the strong undertone of music–the cherry-red guitar should have tipped me off. I enjoyed this little bit thrown in and felt it was unique to Cade and her outlook.
As I read any science fiction novel I try to suspend disbelief and buy into the author’s explanations and world. Often, there are aspects that cause me to briefly pause and question, and there were a few in Entangled. I don’t have a science background so couldn’t say how plausible any of this book was but I was able to overlook any questionable parts (mostly her treatment of black holes) and let Capetta take me on her story.
The one aspect I had trouble getting over was the use of the character’s slang/curse word. I know that slang is a great way to build on a world and show the differences between theirs and ours. I wish I was the type of person that could overlook its use knowing that in the future our language will be much different. Sadly, I just couldn’t get over phrases like “don’t slug this up” or “what the slug are you talking about?” I think if it had been anything but ‘slug’ I could have gotten over it far easier. Every time that word popped up I was wrenched from the dialog. Since I read the arc I can only pray it changes in the final version.
You might have heard/seem comparisons to Firefly. This very thing drew me to this book and put it on my TBR list. I didn’t really see the similarities but it wasn’t so off I felt betrayed. There are a gang of ‘friends’ that rely on each other (to their dismay and annoyance at times) and they travel in space on a ship in the future. These things coincide with Firefly. Where if felt off was on the epic-ness and humor, don’t get me wrong, Entangled was fun and entertaining, but never funny or clever to the level of Whedon-ness.
I liked the characters Capetta created. Cade had the tough façade and delicate innards common to young adult heroines. She was spunky and I love that she lost herself in her guitar and music. It was exciting to follow her journey into discovering her past and to decipher ‘the noise’ that haunted her.
The secondary characters were well thought out and detailed in their personalities and descriptions. I felt they each had unique traits and had an interesting dynamic with one another. I think my favorite character out of the entire book was Rennik, the mysterious, seemingly unfeeling alien who pilots their ship. I hope to see a lot more of him in the next book.
Another great feature was that the ship was a living, breathing entity which had opinions and a real presence throughout the book.
I enjoyed reading Entangled and I will be reading the next in the series to see where Capetta takes her characters next.
This and other reviews on my blog My Friends Are Fiction
An electronic copy was provided by the publisher for a honest review
This was my second book from Diana Peterfreund, the first being For Darkness Shows the Stars, which was beautifully done. I was beyond excited to learn there would be a companion novel and jumped at the chance to read it. I will admit that Across a Star Swept Sea started off slowly for me. I had trouble getting back into the world and understanding all the intricacies. I think if I had reread For Darkness I might have had an easier time getting into this novel.
The writing is beautifully done though a tad on the slow side. The descriptions were vivid and I could easily picture the characters, clothes and setting. The majority of this story is based on secrecacy between the two main characters. As a reader, it gets frustrating knowing what the other doesn’t. Peterfreund did it very well but I still felt annoyed at times and wanted them to be honest with one another though their motivations with keeping silent were well spelled out and believable.
As the book neared the end I became much more wrapped up in the story and enjoyed how all the threads wove together. The sluggish start was more than made up for as the story arcs merged and the main obstacle overcome.
Across a Star Swept Sea is loosely based on The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I read and enjoyed in high school. Sadly, I couldn’t recall enough about the book to make any comparisons so can not say what inspirations Peterfreund found in the original book.
I loved the idea behind Persis being brilliant yet disguising her true motives and identity by playing up the ditzy socialite. I thought she was an amusing character and very strong willed. I enjoyed learning about her inner turmoil and inspirations. Peterfreund did a nice juxtaposition between her as a socialite and as the Wild Poppy, the most infamous spy.
Justen had a very interesting family history, being the grandson of Persistence Helo the woman responsible for creating the cure for the Reduced. I thought his goals at seeing through his grandmother’s dreams were admirable and enjoyed watching him struggle with his own discoveries. I was happy to see a love interest with such depth and strength.
Although I felt like Justen and Persis were well developed individuals, I had trouble really feeling the chemistry between them. I can’t put my finger on why I wasn’t able to really get invested in their relationship but I struggled.
Though Across a Star Swept Sea had descriptive writing and interesting characters something was lacking for me. I had trouble really immersing myself in the story and feeling the characters chemistry with one another.
This and other reviews on my blog, My Friends Are Fiction
This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for a honest review
I haven’t read DeStefano’s Wither series so I can’t compare the pacing or story elements. Perfect Ruin had a slow (but not boring) pace that was easy to read. DeStefano took time to build her world and her main character, Morgan. I felt that Internment was beautifully described and I could visualize the buildings, people and feel of life on the floating island and the claustrophobia of spending your entire life in such a small space. I really enjoyed the writing and how the story flowed slowly though there was the underlining feel of intensity.
I was originally drawn to this book because of the cover but after reading about the city/island floating in the clouds I was hooked. I was intrigued with all the questions–why an island in the sky? How were the people chosen to live there? What is below? Why is looking over the edge forbidden? I will say that we aren’t given absolute clarification in Perfect Ruin. DeStefano edges around these answers only giving the reader the information that Morgan knows.
I feel like as the series progresses more of the questions will be addressed but some readers might be disappointed not to know these answers with the first installment. By the end of the book I had a greater understanding of Internment and its people though I left the book still wondering about many things. For me, this was enough. I didn’t feel disappointment at not getting clear cut answers.
I really enjoyed Morgan, her best friend, her brother and sister in law. I felt that all were well fleshed out and had much deeper stories that I hope to see in later books. As a main character, Morgan is typical of a young adult heroine. She is clever, loyal and curious to a fault. I did wonder why she was only seeking answers with the latest mystery and not after her brother’s experience with the edge.
I had the most difficult time really connecting with Basil. I couldn’t find much depth in his character (yet) and never felt real chemistry between him and Morgan. I liked his actions and what he stood for but I never felt anything deeper about him. He felt rather flat to me overall.
On Internment people are betrothed at a young age and are aware of their future mate. I don’t know if it was because Morgan and Basil were already accepting their futures together but I wasn’t really feeling their romance. Pen, Morgan’s best friend, was far more fun and I loved her dialog and her relationship with her betrothed. Honestly, I felt that all the secondary characters had more passionate relationships than Morgan and Basil.
Judas’ story brings about many of the mysteries and questions for Morgan. His character never felt flat to me and I was easily swept away in his life. I did fear that he would become a love interest creating the dreaded love triangle but so far it didn’t go in that direction.
Perfect Ruin was an entertaining and easy read though many questions remained after finishing the book. I feel that the setup for the sequel will lead to a series that improves with each book.
The Story: I had pretty high hopes and expectations for 3:59 because of the synopsis and cover design. Overall, this was an entertaining read but I had some problems with it. The book starts with a good amount of high school drama- boyfriends cheating, best friend betrayals, etc- that sadly didn’t interest me.
Once we get into the science fiction aspects the scientific explanations were fairly heavy and wordy leading me to mostly skim over them. Honestly, they felt more like info dumps than anything else. I will say it appeared that McNeil had done a significant amount of research.
As for the twists they were fairly easy to spot early on though this really didn’t detract from the fast pacing (once the story really got going). There are a lot of action scenes and the idea behind the book is an interesting one. I loved that the parallel world was only visible at 3:59 so there was the expectation of that time every day and night. It created a really great sense of excitement and tension to the story having such a small window of time when both universes were connected.
The Characters: Here’s where this one really let me down, I never cared for a single character. I knew I was supposed to, but I couldn’t muster an ounce of caring for Josie, Nick, Penelope or any of them. I can’t say why none of them resonated with me, perhaps it was my mood or the writing style? I just found myself a casual observer of what I read.
The romance was laughable at certain points–if you’ve read other reviews you might have seen that there was an awkward make-out scene. After one of the many action scenes our couple finally have their long awaited kiss and it gets fairly passionate. This would have been a great scene if there hadn’t been a dead body next to them the entire time. Yes, they were kissing next to a dead body, which they conveniently forgot about (it was dark in the room) until Jo accidently touches it. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking, ‘there’s a body next to you!’ So unrealistic (I hope) and disturbing. Needless to say I wasn’t feeling it at all.
Final Thoughts: I had some issues with 3:59 mostly due to the characters and info dumping but overall it was an entertaining book due to fast pacing and lots of action. I think this book will appeal to many people and if you love the synopsis you should give it a go and see if it’s for you.
The Story: Unlike many readers I actually get excited when I see a book is about angels, the Fall or Fallen. I love the topic of the Nephalim and am so interested in learning different people’s take on the subject. Sadly, I’m often disappointed by the majority of young adult novels featuring one of my favorite topics. Thankfully, Shadows was very well done, the characters intriguing and the subject matter well researched (you can read about Paula Weston’s research in my interview with her).
Shadows focused less on the Fall and more on what affect it would have on the children of the Fallen and what it would look like in present day. This is a wonderful backdrop for the story Weston has created. Her main character has been deprived of some of her memories and is thrown into a world that seems out of her imagination. Memory loss stories can go wrong fast but Weston is selective with what Gaby doesn’t remember and how she uncovers these memories.
The story is well paced with just enough action interspersed to keep you engaged as you uncover the mystery of what happened to Gaby and why. Really, the beginning is all building up for a really wonderful ending that left me desperate to get my hands on the second book, Haze.
The Characters: Weston excelled with her dialog and interactions between the characters. Rafa and Gaby had a wonderful chemistry. Their relationship is made even more interesting because of Gaby’s memory loss. Since her relationship with him was lost with her memories she is having to relearn who he is and how she feels and many of her emotions are in stark contrast what she’s been told she felt. It’s an interesting concept to consider- how would you feel about the people in your life if you couldn’t remember them?
For me, the characters in Shadows were the strongest aspect of the book. Even Weston’s secondary characters are well crafted and each have detailed histories that I can’t wait to learn more about.
Final Thoughts: Shadows by Paula Weston has set up a wonderful beginning to her four part series. I can’t wait to see where she’ll take her story and characters.