Review of Flashfall by Jenny Moyer

flashfallFlashfall
By: Jenny Moyer
Release Date: November 15th 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.

But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.

My Thoughts:
Gah this book! I picked it up one evening thinking I’d just start it to get a feel for it and I was sucked in and read 3/4ths of the book. It was addicting and so fast paced. I immediately connected with the main character, Orion. Her relationship with Dram was so well done and I was addicted to their chemistry.

This book was a mix of science fiction and dystopian. I thought I was tired of the dystopian genre in general but this book has reignited my love for it. It had a very distinct science fiction feel as well so I’m not entirely sure what classification it would fit under. Regardless, I want more and soon. I’ve seen comparisons to Red Rising and I can see them because of the class system and the caving for elements the higher class needs. This book had a very different feel and the pacing was much faster. I felt that it was a really unique young adult novel and I really loved the caves and how terrifying they were.

Orion was one strong main character. I adored her determination and survival instincts. Nothing was getting in her way. I loved that she cared for her Outpost. I was really impressed with how well the action scenes were done and I loved how though it was very much driven by this the characters did not suffer in the slightest. We still got growth and wonderful dialog. The secondary characters really set themselves apart and I was attached to them. Everything about this book hit me right.

I really liked that we weren’t always constricted to Outpost 5- we go with Orion to several different outposts and see more of the world and the destruction that has occurred to the human race. The world was very unique and the idea behind the Flashfall was really intriguing.

flashfallig

Final Thoughts:
Anyone that enjoys science fiction or dystopian should read Flashfall. It was really unique, well done and captivating. This novel didn’t have a cliff hanger and could be potentially a stand alone but I really hope not. I felt that there was a lot more to explore about the world and the characters.

Review for The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

thediabolicThe Diabolic
By: S.J. Kincaid
Release Date: November 1st 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating
star

Summary:
A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

My Thoughts
I think that The Diabolic will be a great hit with many readers. It’s an action packed story with intrigue, a touch of romance and wonderful setting. For me, I really enjoyed this book but at the same time I felt that some of the pacing was rushed and I wished I’d had a deeper connection to the main character, Nemesis.

There were aspects of this book that I felt were incredibly strong and well done. The world building was really interesting and I loved the descriptions and the issues that Kincaid drew out with the Diabolics, Excess and Royals. Because of there being such extensive unrest in this world there was real tension in this book and it made the reading experience exciting.

The characters were a mixed bag for me- I really loved Tyrus the nephew of the Emperor. His character was the most interesting to me and I would have liked to have read more about him. I loved how he interacted with the main character, Nemesis. I honestly liked her the most when she was interacting with him.

Speaking of Nemesis- I enjoyed her character on a whole but there were times her decision making really aggravated me. I could understand her motives but it didn’t take away from my frustration while reading. I do think she was well developed and her history as a Diabolic was horrifying to read about. I appreciated that Kincaid chose to tell this story from a Diabolic’s perspective but I do wish I could have connected a bit deeper to her.

The side characters were less thrilling to me. Many, like Nemesis’ charge, Sidonia was sadly not all that well developed to me. I never was able to connect to her and at times I feel her storyline was there for the sole point of advancing the plot or being an inconvenience to it.

diabolicig

Final Thoughts:
I found The Diabolic to be an exciting read and well worth the time though I couldn’t connect deeply with the main character. I found the world and story to be well done though and I would read a follow-up if there was one. I’d especially love to read more about Tyrus.

Review of The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

BookofIvyThe Book of Ivy
By: Amy Engel
Release Day: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Teen

My Rating:
star

Summary:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

My Thoughts:
I had this one on my TBR for what feels like ages and had heard such amazing things about the book and the character Bishop. I went into this with high expectations and for the most part I enjoyed the story.

I’ve not read a dystopian in a while and it was nice to go back to the genre. I did feel that Engel didn’t go very deeply into what caused her world to collapse but she did provide enough to create a realistic back-drop to her story. For me, this book focused on the relationship between Ivy and Bishop rather than the world or what Ivy’s mission was. It all felt connected to the development between the characters and was rather predictable in parts. It was an addictive read though, and the writing pulled me in and kept me intrigued.

Ivy was an easy to relate to character and I enjoyed watching her navigate her feelings and try to come to terms with what her family wanted of her versus what she wanted. Engel created a well rounded character who developed as the story progressed. Her chemistry with Bishop was great and predictably, he was my favorite character in the book. He was nearly too perfect in parts (he’s tall, handsome, sensitive, intelligent, a dreamer, etc) but I did enjoy him and his quiet yet powerful role in the book. I can see why everyone has been so smitten with him and his relationship with Ivy.

I enjoyed the dynamic of having two families warring over who had control of the survivors after the collapse of our world. I felt this gave a great history to the storyline and created tension between the characters. I wasn’t surprised by any of the reveals that came later in the book but this didn’t take too much from my enjoyment. The settlement being fenced in and the outside world being this big mystery was dealt with well and I’m curious to read about what is outside of the fence. I’ve seen this approach before, mostly in zombie books, but it worked in this book.

Some things about the world left me a bit puzzled. I wanted more detail on the roles (besides marrying and having babies) people in the settlement had. Where did they get the cows for their steak? Were all their buildings made pre-world collapse? It all seemed a tad too easy and honestly I would of liked to have seen a bit more hardship for the survivors. It was hard for me to really think of them living in a dystopian world when Ivy has a beautiful dress created for her, they have steaks for dinner, etc.

Final Thoughts:
The Book of Ivy was a fast paced, romantic read that took place in a dystopian environment. I felt that the world-building was lacking and mostly there as a back-drop to the relationship between the two lead characters. I think if you go in expecting that you can ignore some of the things about the world that don’t add up or are glossed over. I probably had too high of expectations going into reading this book from all the love I’ve heard from blogger friends. I will say it was an entertaining book though I’m not dying for the sequel.

Review of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

RedQueenRed Queen
By: Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: E-ARC
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

My Thoughts:
There was a substantial amount of hype surrounding this title and I think that lessoned my enjoyment. I went into this book with high expectations. I expected something epic, blood soaked and ultimately different than what I got. With that tiara dripping blood and the title, Red Queen, I imaged court politics, gruesome violence and an all out battle for power. Yes, that isn’t anything really like the summary. I should have not expected something based on the cover but it happens.

Red Queen played out like so many other dystopian books… heroine fighting for her life in an impoverished society only to realize she’s something more. I was still able to become immersed in the first section of the book because of the strong visuals and strong writing. Sadly, as the story progressed my enjoyment waned. I wasn’t at all impressed with the action sequences and felt that the god-like powers weren’t all that original.

I’ve got to mention the similarity I saw between this novel and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda

I think you can see just from the summaries that there are similarities between the two books. I felt that Red Queen veered off a good amount from this common plot but it did feel a bit like Red Rising light to me. Where Red Rising was brutal and incredibly detailed on its character development I felt that Red Queen sort of felt stunted. I didn’t connect with the characters and though a good amount happened to our lead I wasn’t ever to really gain an interest in her story.

There were hints of a love triangle for those sensitive to those…but it wasn’t too big of a deal. As for the romantic interests I never felt chemistry between either pairs. I think it all comes down to my disconnect with Mare. If I’d been able to have that I think the book would have worked so much better for me. From the early reviews I’ve seen this one is loved by many people so I seem to be in the minority.

Final Thoughts:
Sadly Red Queen was a disappointment to me because I was not able to connect or get invested in the main character’s story. I felt that this book didn’t bring anything all that new to the genre. I think it’ll be a hit for many readers because the writing was well done.

Dystopian Music

I was thinking about an old song that reminded me of a book (Steven King’s The Dark Tower) due to YA Central’s Twitter Giveaway. The Dead Flag Blues by Godspeed You Black Emperor. I love their moody, eclectic music and with re-listening to this particular song it struck me how accurately it expressed the feel of so many of the dystopian books I love so much.

The Dead Flag Blues consists of eerie music overlaid with a monologue spoken by a man. The words are haunting and the music is beautiful and so, so sad. Also, Godspeed tends to have 20 minute songs so really I’m just referring to the first 6-7 mins

 

If the name Godspeed You Black Emperor is familiar it is most likely because their song East Hastings was featured in one of the best zombie movies ever…28 Days Later. I can’t recommend their emotional, dark and moving music enough.

I wanted to share The Dead Flag Blues for that reason and ask you what songs remind you of the dystopian genre?