Review of Blackout by Meredith McCardle

blackoutcoverBlackout (Annum Guard #2)
By: Meredith McCardle
Release Date: January 13th 2015
Publisher: Skyscape
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

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

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Amanda Obermann (code name: Iris) has more on her mind than usual. As a member of a covert government organization called the Annum Guard, which travels through time to keep history on track, Iris has been getting some particularly stressful assignments. Plus, Jane Bonner, the Guard’s iron-fisted new leader, seems determined to make life as hard as possible. Thankfully, Iris has Abe (code name: Blue), her boyfriend and fellow Guardian, who listens to her vent—and helps her cope with her mentally ill mother’s increasingly erratic behavior.

When Guardians start to disappear on their assignments, Iris makes a terrifying discovery: a “blackout” squad is targeting anyone who gets in the way of a corrupt force that’s selling out both the Annum Guard’s missions and Guardian lives. Together, Iris and Blue must go undercover to untangle the Guard’s elaborate web of secrets and lies. But when Iris discovers that the terrible truth may involve her own father, a former Guardian undone by his own greed, she must decide how much she’s willing to risk to rescue her friends…and how dangerous the consequences will be for all of humanity.

My Thoughts:
Blackout is the sequel to The Eighth Guardian and was highly enjoyable continuation of the story. The overall feel of the book was slightly different than the first since it focused on the mystery behind the Annum Guard and why certain members were disappearing. Time travel was obviously a large part of the story though it wasn’t as detailed as in the first book. The time periods that Amanda (code name-Iris) visited weren’t described as vividly as in the first book. She wasn’t looking to change the past in this one as much as witness events take place to help her solve a mystery.

The same cast of characters were present in this installment and we get to see more of Abe since he’s joined the guard. The relationship between Amanda and Abe had some adjusting to do so we see a bit of a rocky patch between the two. I’m still not shipping them as much as I’d like though I do enjoy both of the characters. I have really grown fond of Red and was happy to see many more scenes with him. I’m so curious to learn more about his background and I’m hoping McCardle delves into that in the next book.

The first part of Blackout moved slower to me but I was still interested in learning about the characters and the scenes focused on Amanda’s mother’s mental disorder. I appreciated getting insights into her home life as sad as it was.

The action picked up midway and moved at a break-neck pace and be aware…this one ends on a killer cliff-hanger. I couldn’t believe it left me hanging like it did. There isn’t any info for the third book on Goodreads and I’m somewhat distraught being left hanging for I don’t know how long. I hope that the next book will release soon and some info is updated soon.

Final Thoughts:
Blackout was a strong follow up to the first book though it was a tad slower paced in the beginning. I enjoyed the slower sections for the character growth and look inside of Amanda’s home life. Once things get going the pace quickens to an ending with a great twist that left me crying since it was such a cliff hanger. I need the third book immediately and look forward to the ride McCardle with put me through.

Review of Unmade by Amy Rose Capetta

UnmadeUnmade (Entangled #2)
By: Amy Rose Capetta
Release Date: January 13th 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

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

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Cadence is in a race against time and space to save her family and friends from the Unmakers, who are tracking the last vestiges of humanity across the cosmos. As the epic battle begins, Cade learns that letting people in also means letting them go. The universe spins out of control and Cade alone must face the music in the page-turning conclusion to Entangled.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed Entangled but wasn’t blown away–but reading Unmade I was riveted. I think the biggest draw for me was the relationship between Cade and Rennick. I shipped them so much and there little shared moments kept me reading even through the slower parts of the story (which weren’t all that common). These two characters had such a strong chemistry and I loved their dialog and aspects they brought out in each other.

As introduced in the first book- Cade, the main character, had a special ability where she hears the music others exude. This all works similar to an aura but Cade hears it rather than sees. I thought this was such a clever touch to the series and an interesting ability for the main character to have. Because of this, music plays a large part in the story line.

The other characters are beautifully developed and diverse. I loved that Capetta showed a variety of human relationships as well as a cast of other species. She never made any of her ‘aliens’ comical or silly. They all seemed realistic and elegant in their own way. As mentioned above, I have a special spot for Rennick-an aloof, handsome alien that tends to keep to himself but when push comes to shove he’s a brutally efficient fighter.

One of the problems I had in the first book was the language used. The author chose to give her world its own slang and it detracted from the story for me. In this book either it was less present or I’ve gotten used to it because I wasn’t nearly as bothered and it actually seemed to flow easier.

The action scenes were wonderfully vivid and easy to picture even taking place in space. I adore the new characters introduced and felt that they helped fill in any gaps in the cast of characters from the first book. Another aspect I really enjoyed about this series was the space sickness that humans suffer after spending time in space.

Final Thoughts:
Unmade was the sequel and conclusion of this two part story and I felt that it wrapped things up very well and had a satisfying conclusion. I continued to love the characters and felt that the storyline was well executed.