Sci-fi gone wild in Across the Universe by Beth Revis

9996290Across the Universe (#1) by Beth Revis

Genre: Sci-fi, YA

Format: e-book

Source: I bought my own copy from Sony. 

Rating: 4 birdies

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends–and planet–behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before “Godspeed'”s scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.
Someone tried to murder her.
Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed’s 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest’s rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead. Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship’s cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock “Godspeed”‘s hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Across the Universe. The romance didn’t meet my expectations, but the world building, the descriptions and the mystery were excellent!

Across the Universe is about a 300 year journey to another life sustaining planet. It has what you expect – people being frozen for value, plus people on board the ship living lives. It follows a girl named Amy, who is frozen along with her parents. The story then fast forwards to the future, where we meet Elder in a strange version of life. This sudden immersion into nearly an entire, unknown culture is startling. Normally, I do not have a problem getting used to new worlds, but this one I had quite a lot of trouble understanding the new terms and realities. I didn’t take long for me to get into it, though I was constantly shocked by the difference of life-on-spacecraft.

Despite not understanding at first, I really liked the detail that went into creating futuristic space life. So much thought went into it that there was absolutely no room for a single plot hole (that I could detect, anyway). This detail went forward into the descriptions; I was always well aware of what the surroundings were in the story and had a clear picture. I also loved the details of things such as the “freezing” of human bodies. It made it feel so real and plausible.

This detail was also found in the characters – I thought all the main characters were well rounded and developed. I loved Amy’s conflicting emotions and confusion. Coming from a world much like ours, I felt as though I could relate to her the most. I definitely understood everything she went through, with being unfrozen too early and being immersed into some really strange world really quickly. Even though Elder was the oddity on the spaceship – being unlike the people around him, I still understood him and I really liked his character. He was flawed and naïve, though smart and more accepting than others on the ship.

The one problem I had was that I didn’t feel any real spark between Amy and Elder. There was a little attraction, though it didn’t make me feel anything. To be fair, there wasn’t a lot of movement in the love department, though the blurb hinted at it enough for me to want more.

Across the Universe included some adultish material that I wasn’t expecting. This was shocking at first, though I came to respect Revis for including it. At first it felt unnecessary,  but as the plot moved along it began to fit and make more sense.

Something else that I loved? The mystery! I felt like we were in a sci-fi murder mystery! Something I haven’t actually come across before. I love guessing in books, and I loved being surprised. I was amazed at how many times I was surprised! There were only a couple of really guessable things.

However, another big thing that let the book down for me a little was some of the revelations and truths of these mysteries. There was some seriously strange behavior going on inside the ship, but when the reason for this came out? It was really unbelievable and almost too “out there”. It seemed like such a huge, extensive and pointless effort. It was complicated – and really, the more simple answers are sometimes better and more effective. I feel like this could have used some more common sense.

Other than feeling off at this point, and being disappointed at the romance, I still really enjoyed reading Across the Universe. I am such a sucker for that great description and detail, and I was honestly hooked from the beginning. So, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. Across the Universe can have a rating of four for hitting my weaknesses. However, I do warn younger readers. There are some parts in the book that seemed a bit much for anyone under 18.

myrating

 

justbreezy!

Lucy Saxon’s Take Back the Skies died slowly in my palms

takebacktheskiesTake Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon 

Genre: Sci-fi/Steampunk, YA

Published: 5th June, 2014, by Bloomsbury

Format: Paperback

Source: I received a free copy of Take Back the Skies from the publisher to review

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.
So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

I have to come right out and say it, I was fairly disappointed in this book. It had all the promise and possibilities of something amazing and it didn’t deliver. I was captured at the beginning. It had such an interesting world to play with, with a spirited MC. But from halfway I just kept facing issues and problems that got in the way of my enjoyment.

(SIDE) This story is more suitable for the younger side of YA. I didn’t have a problem with this, I quite like that younger, childish adventure story. But for those who mind, I recommend it for early teens.

I liked the characters in Take Back the Skies. They were perfect for a story like this; loveable, easy to picture. Sometimes a little too perfect, but otherwise I still liked them. I could really connect with our MC, Cat. She was so spirited and full of life, dreams and opinions. I really enjoyed reading about her!

Sadly, Take Back the Skies suffer’s from some insta love. At first, it was just a cute little crush. But then it blew out of proportion by being full on, devoted, never going to love another, kind of love. Plus, there was a love triangle, but it wasn’t too unbearable.

I noticed a fair few cliché’s in this book that didn’t really need to be there. Actually, they were all over the place. It also started to become a little too convenient, a bit wishful. This starts to take away the adventure, adrenalin feeling for me.

I also couldn’t help but see the plot holes. It’s like the analytical side of me picks these out like I do with olives on pizza. There were quite a few things that just didn’t connect or match up. There was also a part in the book where a lot of careful, thought out plans had to be made. But really, these plans were half made and severely holed. There was a lot of relying on conveniences to pass.

There was also a bit too much “good” vs “bad”. Even though that is expected in a book like this, I’ve begun to have an appreciation for things not being as they seem, for the line between good and bad to be blurred. It would have been good to see a little complexity in Take Back the Skies.

Now the ending.

The ending did not sit well with me. Not only was it flat (I did cry though) but it was slightly awkward. Moving on to the epilogue, I was so so so disappointed. Set two years into the future, Cat is an entirely different person, clashing with all of her beliefs and morals from the girl we had 300 + pages to get to know. This led to an immediate disconnection from Cat. She went from being this spirited, ballsy girl to a complete stranger. I get what the author was trying to say from this, but I personally think Cat should have kept to her guns. It made her different, made us like her, she’s had numerous arguments about her beliefs, and for her just to give in? Nope. There was nothing that made me think it had to happen. I was gutted by this end and not impressed.

This book had such a good concept, great idea’s, characters and settings. But I couldn’t sit back and enjoy it. I kept picking at plot holes and rolling my eyes at the cliché’s. I was appreciating the cute, slow romance until it got out of hand. I was loving Cat, this strong awesome girl, until she was ruined by the end with no justification good enough for her change of character. This book wasn’t for me.

myrating

still stiff & stuffy

DNF Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan – sci-fi gone bad

glow

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance

Published:October 2011, by  Macmillan Children’s Books 

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought 

 

I hate not finishing books. Luckily, this is only the second this year. But seriously. I wish I could finish this then say lots of great things about it and everything would be dandy with rainbows, unicorns and an unlimited supply of bookmarks.

But no. Books as bad as this somehow manage to make it mainstream and have a semi decent GR rating. So I pick it up, expecting something good, or at least readable, only to be deflated and have my breeze sucked out of me.

I don’t rate books I haven’t finished – just a personal rule. But I do write a mini review of why I couldn’t finish said book.

So, why was Glow so bad that I could barely read over 100 pages of it?

  1. The writing. I can’t remember the last time I read such a plain, boring style of writing. The descriptions were as basic as possible. The actions, scenes, explanations – everything was just so utterly boring to read.
  2. Has some of the most stupidest concepts I have ever come across in a sci-fi book – and that is seriously saying something.
    Get this – religion is a major, MAJOR theme in this book.Not that I have a problem with religion, just that it pretty much takes over the plot whilst attempting to be sci-fi. It just does not work and is way to over bearing
  3. The love triangle was obvious first chapter. The stinking first chapter.
  4. Humans = robots with bi-polar. One second their smiling, next their choking eachother, then hugging, then crying, admitting undying love. in a punch up – Just like that. No build up. Nothing.It was almost robotic. They just do it. And not only that, you can tell that female lead was meant to be kickass, but she was so so weak. Disappointing.

So, at just over a 100 pages in, I stopped and skipped to the end. Let’s say that I’m glad I didn’t bother.

On the other hand, sorry to dump all the negativity on you. I hate writing up things like this, but I feel as though I need to keep my blog as balanced and as honest as possible. Can’t have all the good and none of the bad.

 

Review: Terra by Gretchen Powell

Terra by Gretchen Powell

Genre: Dystopia, YA, Sci-fi

Published: December 2012 by Hopewell Media

My Rating: 4 thumbs up!

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“A broken and desolate Earth. A young girl struggling to survive. A lost boy with a powerful secret.

A discovery that will change everything.

In the distant wake of a plague that has decimated the Earth’s population, humanity is split in two: The rich and powerful live in skycities that float overhead, while those who remain on the ground have gathered in settlements strewn across a dying planet. Eighteen-year-old Terra Rhodon is a terrestrial–a denizen of the barren groundworld–who makes her living as a scav. Long abandoned by her father, her caregivers gone, Terra supports herself and her younger brother, Mica, by scouring the earth for discarded scraps and metals to recycle for profit. One day, while on a routine scavenging run, she discovers something that shocks her home settlement of Genesis X-16. When the value of her discovery is revealed, Terra’s world is turned upside down.

Terra suddenly finds herself asking questions no one will answer. Her search for the truth leads her to Adam–a beguiling skydweller unlike any she has ever met. But Adam has secrets and a quest of his own, and with him by her side, the world Terra thought she knew begins to unravel. Soon her discoveries unearth a terrifying conspiracy that has the potential to shatter everything–a revelation that will test the bonds of loyalty, family, and love.”

From Goodreads

 

My Thoughts

Um, why have I not heard of this book before? Why are there only like, 100 other reviews of this book on GR? WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT READING TERRA!

This book IS SO GOOD! It is 1000x better than some of the books that make it big, so why hasn’t this one?

Terra is a Terrestrial, otherwise known as a person with brown eyes who lives on the dying earth. This dystopia follows Terra after she discovers something unusual that gives her a giant pay out. One of my favourite things about Terra is the original version of a dystopian. It includes a hierarchy of highly wasteful, snobby, smart and privileged skydwellers and the poorly terraestials who scavenge and recycle goods on the ground to survive. Not to mention a new story about how civilization today came to be, including a plague and falling cities. I also like how the story includes an element of sci-fi, though it’s discreet.

Terra’s discovery leads her to meet the unusual Adam – Mr good mannered and charming who saves her life more than once. Cliché , yes, but Adam is highly secretive, hooking me in almost automatically. The mystery that follows Adam’s background is revealed towards the end, and I can tell you know that I was not expecting it whatsoever. I was shocked at the revelations, just as much as Terra which made it very real in my eyes. I love how Powell was able to surprise me.

I also like the characterizations in Terra. It takes some time but I eventually get a feel for each character. I understand Terra and her blunt need to survive and look after Mica. I understand her urge no to trust or be dependent. I understand Mica’s urge to have fun and be a kid. I understand Adam’s urge to protect, discover and dig. I also think that the author has given the book the perfect amount of important characters and side characters – making sure that the side characters were not overly developed and energy was spent more so on Terra, Mica and Adam.

Despite good development of characters, I wasn’t too convinced of the romance between Adam and Terra. It definitely wasn’t insta-love, but it didn’t feel real or had much depth. I feel like something could have been added to really solidify and strengthen this connection to make it feel more realistic.

What did feel real, though, was the world we were shoved in. Powell is very artful in that she shows more than she tells. I had such a strong sense of the world Terra lived in and her life from the very beginning. I warn people that it does instantly immerse you in strange terms – I do not have a problem with adjusting to this, though I’m aware some readers hate being confused at the beginning.

As well as her world building, I like Powell’s writing style. It’s very clear and concise, yet she uses description to its full ability. I just adore this. It’s like she has combined my two favourite writing styles together into this beautiful caramel chocolate mud cake. I could just eat it up alllll day.

I’m still shocked that this book has not gained more publicity. It is really that good. The gorgeous writing style, original world, easy world building and developed characters. The plot is also easy to follow, though is still filled with twists and surprises. Weak romance aside, Terra is a book I would, I will, recommend to every body!

4 thumbs up

Review: Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt

starstruck_promo

Title: Starstruck

Author: Brenda Hiatt

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Romance

My rating: 2 thumbs up.

“Nerdy astronomy geek Marsha, M to her few friends, has never been anybody special. Orphaned as an infant and reluctantly raised by an overly-strict “aunt,” she’s not even sure who she is. M’s dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her. As Rigel turns his back on fawning cheerleaders to spend time with M, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves to the point she can ditch her thick glasses, and when they touch, sparks fly—literally! When M digs for a reason, she discovers deep secrets that will change her formerly humdrum life forever . . . and expose her to perils she never dreamed of. Yes, the middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting!”

Goodreads

I’ll first mention that I received a free copy of Startstruck in return for an honest review.

Starstruck is the typical childhood fantasy – being saved from your boring, very ordinary, typical life by some extraordinary events or people that tell you that you’re something different, something special. I guess you could call this boring and overdone, or depending on your outlook, see it as appealing. I personally think that even though Starstruck is very typical, it has a background idea that can potentially turn a second or third book into a very original series. This story however, is well, ordinary.

First, the plot. Girls, remember fantasizing that you’d wake up one and find out that you’re actually a princess? Ever dreamed that you were Mia Thermopolis  and a long lost relative told you that you were royal? Throw in a few aliens, adoption and a foreseeable romance and you’ve got Starstruck. Sadly, this makes it a little predictable. I do like the sci-fi element though – I personally never imagined I’d be from outer space.

The pace of the story was a little off for me. I personally hate it when authors feel the need to fill me in on every aspect of the main characters day. We literally see MC’s Marsha’s entire day for a week. Each class, lunches, going to the locker, the bus rides home, dinner – the lot. To be completely honest, a lot of that could have been cut out as it didn’t add to the story. Though this pacing did improve as the story went on.

I also didn’t get a big hit from the climax. I love it when I’m surprised, when the climax makes you jump and cringe. Sadly, as soon as I saw the problem arise, I knew exactly how they were going to get out of it. No surprise there.

Next, the characters. I’ll be honest when I say I’m not a huge fan of the MC, Marsha. She is portrayed to be somewhat weak, and even though I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for strong female characters, an MC who turns out to be royalty should definitely not be weak. I also hate her vulnerability and change that comes about in her when love comes into play. It appears that she totally loses herself to her infatuation with a boy; including ditching her friends. I just don’t like it.

Now to the love interest and boy in charge of Marsha finding out her identity. I find him incredibly boring. There no rebelliousness or sneakiness to him. No normal guy, cool casualness. He is way too nice and loyal. To perfect, really. But I do like how is loyal and true nature adds suspense to the story. I like his determination to stay away from Marsha for her own good, hurting both him and her. It does give him a little appeal.

To me, both these characters are a little unrealistic. Actually the most realistic character in my eyes is the horrid aunt, who acts as an evil step mother who has a weird, hidden affection for Marsha.

Overall Starstruck is a little predictable, has weak, unrealistic characters and is tiresome to read – especially in the beginning. Despite this, it deserves credit in that it does have some originality and is suited to those who still love to fantasize.

2thumbsup

Review: Origin

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi, fiction

My rating: 3 thumbs upOrigin3thumbsup

“Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything. 

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?:

 Goodreads

The 4th book in the Lux Series disappointed me a little. I still loved it, still love the characters and the dynamics. But there was just a few things in this novel I didn’t like and annoyed me.

Through the majority of the other books, Katy and Daemon’s relationship was either Hate/Hate or Love/Hate and was in constant turmoil with different arguments and situations. This wasn’t the case in Origin; they were a real, devoted team. I love it. So it makes sense in this one to showcase Daemons perspective to gain the depth of their feelings towards each other (we have always been aware of Kat’s, and besides, I’m pretty sure everyone wanted to get into alien hottie’s brain).

I kinda had a problem with the multiple perspective stuff; sometimes it was very clear who was who, but other times Daemon and Katy sounded exactly the same and blurred together. Which affected how I read it and hence hindered my enjoyment.

There were also some events in the book that just didn’t work for me. Katy should be seriously mentally unstable from what has happened to her in Area 51, and she appears to be suffering up until Daemon shows. Suddenly this horrible experience is not so horrible anymore and she is no longer affected by what’s happening around her; even when they nearly kill her. I personally think the trauma should have continued to make it feel more real and hopeless, and make their escape even more worth it.

I also think the marriage thing was silly. Waste of pages. I didn’t gain anything from it; I was already aware of how deeply Daemons feeling were for Kat- he has done greater, more personal things to show it. Marrying her did nothing for me at all. Also, three sex scenes in less than a day was a little too much… The chapters in that area all fell flat for me. A real change from Jennifer’s fast paced, exciting writing style.

I was also a little iffed by Blake’s death. I didn’t like him, but I think a lot of his motives were left un-answered. Like why the hell did he cuddle up with Kat in Opal? Does he honestly have feelings for her? Was he just trying to gain her trust? Confused. I wish his end was a little clearer and brought forward some questions or truth about his behavior.

Now to what I liked; the overall progression of the story. The progression of Katy and Daemons relationship, Dee’s forgiveness, the death of less likeable characters (I have a feeling that Jen had a problem killing off her characters, because the ones that died were generally the ones we didn’t know or like). I like how we are gaining an understanding behind the motives of Daedalus and I love how it continues to throw in new dynamics for every story. I love the tension, the surprises. All of it.

And the ending. Woah. That ending. The possibilities for death, twists, tension are endless! Absolutely thrilled for Opposition to be released. Even though I was slightly frustrated with this novel, making it earn only three thumbs up, it has not made me dislike the series at all. TEAM ALIEN! ❤

Review: Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave

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Author: Rick Yancey

Genre: Sci-fi, Young Adult, Fiction

Published: May 7th, 2013, Penguin

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. – Goodreads

 My Alien obsession continues with this novel. And seriously, it has left me quenched for more.

After reading The Host, I had very high expectation for this. I did enjoy reading it, but I found it somewhat difficult. Its biggest downfall for me is that the way it is written was disorientating. It has a very straight to the point and blunt style, but the tenses were all over the place.

At first, I thought it was written as a diary entry, but then it changed slightly to first person halfway through the first chapter. That puzzled me. Also, I was always confused if they were talking about the past (because there are lots of flashbacks in this), or if they were talking in the present

The continual jumping back and forth between past and present made this hard for me to read – hindering the experience. I personally prefer something easy to read (in short, I’m a lazy reader) that flows and doesn’t jump between tenses. You have to be very aware of tenses and scene changes to pick up where you are.

Also what disorientated me is that nearly each chapter changed perspectives. A positive about this is that it keeps the book from becoming boring and biased. However, it needed to be more distinct about whose eyes we were viewing the events from. This became easier further into the story, but for the first few chapters, I’d be reading blindly with no concept of what’s happening until I finally got an idea of who was telling the story. Then I would have to go back to the start of the chapter and read it again.

Other than the difficulties I had reading it, it was well-developed, dynamic and surprisingly realistic. Sci-fi realistic? I say realistic because the author has done an amazing job at describing the emotions of the characters in their situations. The utter hopelessness, but strength and will to survive is demonstrated all throughout, guiding every decision made by the characters. Even the mysterious Evan Walkers’ betrayal to his own kind becomes clear eventually.

What I don’t really get is what kind of life form the aliens are. I also think Evan’s superhero act towards the end was a bit un-realistic. It was almost as of the author was taking the easy way out of a tricky situation. But then again, I liked it. I think Cassie needed to be properly saved, and I like that Evan got one more chance to demonstrate his feelings for her and show what side he is on.

I’m such a sucker for a love story.

My final rating is 4 Thumbs! Definitely reading the debut! I just hope I’m not disappointed.

4 thumbs up