Book Review: The Song Rising

The Song Rising
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genre: Fiction, Sci-fi, Paranormal, Post-apocalyptic

“We like to think we’re brave, but in the end, we’re only human.”

The Song Rising is the third book in The Bone Season series. It begins right after The Mime Order ends. If you haven’t read the first two books, the third book would be a bit confusing. This series is dependent on each other.

In this story, the MC (main character), Paige, learns of a weapon that could detect clairvoyants and destroy them. Her goal was to locate the source of this weapon but she finds that it’s harder than it sounds. She’d have to make a decision that could lead to her death.

“The only way to survive is to believe you always will.”

I found this book to be more interesting than the second book. The second book was mainly about creating the Mime order, a collaboration between a clairvoyant group and some Ranthens, in order to defeat the Rephaite sovereign. It also felt a bit slow moving. This book was pretty fast paced. A lot happened and we blow through quite a bit of flashback/history. I’m glad for that because it adds to the world building and characters development, setting the story for what’s to come. It was done nicely. There was a lot going on in this book. The characters were more defined and Warden played a bigger role. I happen to really enjoy his character and every part he’s in. I’m fascinated by his kind, pretty much. We learn of a hidden world underground. We also learn a little more about Paige’s old boss, the mime-lord, Jaxon Hall and his role with the Rephaite sovereign.

The only downside for me was that there wasn’t much said about the Emite (aka buzzers). At first I got the feeling that these creatures were going to destroy the world if not controlled. It appeared as though the Rephaim had kept them under control but somehow, through a portal of sort, some escaped. I thought Warden was spending all his time tracking the escaped. In the end of the story when Warden was to leave Britain, it didn’t make sense. Who was going to do the work of keeping the Emite away? I hope to learn more about this part of the story in the next few books only because in the first book, when Warden was training Paige, the Emite seemed to have been the focus. I thought she was going to have some part in their demise or at least in keeping them from escaping.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It was one of those books where I had to almost read straight through because it’s that good.

“The wonderful thing about living in a morally bankrupt world is that every human being can be bought in one way or another. Everyone accepts a currency. Money, mercy, the illusion of power – there are always ways to purchase loyalty.”

January 2017 Book Reviews

A goal this year is to only read about 12 books.  One book per month or around there.  I’ve really reduced it because I want to focus more on writing than reading.  I know I’ll probably end up reading more than 12 books but if I do, that’s okay.  I don’t want to stress out over trying to hit my numbers.  So far, I’ve read two books this month.  It wasn’t expected but once I learned Veronica Roth’s book, “Carve the Mark,” was out, I had to buy and read it.  Below are the reviews for the books I’ve read this month.

Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Genre: Fiction, Psychological Thriller

behindcloseddoors_350This story is about a couple whom everyone thinks has the perfect relationship but deep down there are secrets.

Although the pacing is fast, the story starts out a bit slow.  There is a tenseness in the beginning especially when one of the supporting characters, Esther, questions their “perfect” marriage.

The characters were well developed and stayed true to themselves. The back stories to the main characters really helped in shaping them. The setting was clear and done well. The story line was interesting and kept me in suspense and intrigue, which was what kept me reading.

What bothered me most about the story was the protagonist and the main antagonist. Grace didn’t seem very smart or wise and Jack wasn’t as evil as he could be. I felt that Grace could have easily gotten away from Jack and even reported him but she let it go on for too long, doubting herself all the time, and not trusting her own intuition. She was so strong and determined at taking care of her little sister, I didn’t get why she suddenly gave in to Jack and put her sister on the sideline. As for Jack, I wanted him to be even more evil than he was but he seemed to also give in. There was no explanation why he gave in to Grace so much since his back story made him to be this person who enjoyed torture/pain, etc. If it was because he was afraid he’d get caught, then that fear should have somehow made it into the story or the back story.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. The suspense stretched out further than I had anticipated which almost led me to stop reading because it got to the point where I almost just didn’t care what happened (because as mentioned, Grace wasn’t very smart) but Esther got me hooked. She was the person who made the story interesting. I was annoyed by her at first but I was also curious as to why she was always prying. I was surprised by her at the end, and have to admit, I cried. She was amazing.

Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Fiction, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Young Adult

carvethemark_350This story is about…I’m not even sure exactly what it’s about, to be honest, but I’ll do my best to describe it.  I believe it’s about two families who are enemies, where the evil family gains rulership and tortures the other family in hopes to continue ruling.

The story was interesting and the powers the characters had were unique. I liked the idea that it took place in outer space and other planets.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as I had expected. It was pretty fast paced. Too many characters were introduced so I couldn’t feel for the main characters. Some characters were introduced and then only had small, almost irrelevant, parts. I tried to visualized the world they lived in and found it difficult because I felt as though there were pieces of Dune by Frank Herbert and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Every time I came across the word “Benesit, ” (the name/title of one of the families) I kept wanting to say “Bene Gesserit” from Dune.

As for the relationship between the two main characters, I felt very little for them. As mentioned, because it was so fast paced and so much information was being thrown in, I really couldn’t relate to the relationship or to their situation.

What was very obvious was the pain the protagonist felt and how she learned to deal with it. I think if the focus was solely on this as the story, how she was chosen to have this type of power that would cause herself pain, and how she learned to control or manage it, would have been a great story on its own.

I really wanted to like this story. I love sci-fi and fantasy combined and I love Veronica Roth’s style. The scenes merge seamlessly and the transition from first to third person was well done.  I’m just a bit bummed that there was so much thrown into it and it felt rushed.

The Infinite Sea Book Review

Title: The Infinite Sea (2nd book in The 5th Wave Trilogy)
Author: Rick Yancey
Genre: Sci-fi, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, dystopian, paranormal, YA

theinfinitesea[Side note] Today is the opening of the movie, The 5th Wave, and I wish I could go see it today but I’ve got a busy schedule.  I hope to get my chance sometime next week.

This is the second book to The 5th Wave trilogy.  This book delves deeper into Ringer.  She was not a main character in the first book and we only got to see a little piece of her at the military camp.  She came across as someone who added depth to another character. She was portrayed as mysterious, tough, and excellent with weapons, but otherwise there wasn’t much to her.  In The Infinite Sea, we get to see her weakness.  We get to be inside her brain and understand who she really is.

The story begins with the cast: Cassie, Ben Parish and his buddies from the camp including Ringer.  Ringer leaves their hideout and gets captured and returned to the camp where she is inserted with a head device and gets alien data downloaded into her brain.  Part of the download included some superpowers which allowed her to see in the dark and heal quickly from injuries.  In essence she becomes a carrier of alien knowledge, alien control, and super strength.  This “upgrade” to Ringer was Commander Vosch’s plan to use her to track down Evan Walker.  Evan is the guy Vosch wants.  This becomes an alien vs. alien thing.

There is a lot of action and suspense throughout the book.

I enjoyed this book just as much as the first book but there were a few things that I felt could have been explained better/deeper such as:

  1. Ringer’s character.  Even though we got to read from her first person, I didn’t feel that I could relate or even understand her.  There was back story to her past but it just didn’t feel very strong.  It didn’t feel believable.
  2. The upgrade to Ringer could have been explained better. I guess I wanted to know more about how she felt.  She had fevers and physical pain but it lacked emotional pain.  She had this “so what” attitude as if she accepted whatever was happening to her.  I felt that she could have fought it more.  Cried more.  Screamed more.  I thought she should have shone more anger toward these aliens and what they were doing and what they’ve done to humans.
  3. The soldier that aided and assisted Ringer was intriguing but there were things about him that I didn’t understand like when he stared blankly at Ringer when they had escaped. How was he controlled in that way?  Why weren’t some of the other humans controlled the same way?  When he came out of his control, he and Ringer just continued with their conversations as if it was normal.  He continued to take care of her as per directives and she just went along with it.  That was hard to believe.

Overall, this was a great read.  The humor was still great.  The weapons descriptions and actions/fight scenes were superb.  There was a bit of Cormac McCarthy’s, The Road, writing style in the book.  I’ve grown to like the no quotations conversations and was excited to see it in this book.  I cannot wait for the 3rd book!

The 5th Wave Book Review

Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Genre: Sci-fi, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, dystopian, paranormal, YA

the5thwaveimageI came upon this book because I saw the preview to the movie when I went to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens (great movie, btw, and watched it twice!) and did a search for the book to see if there was actually a book I could read first before I go see the movie later this month. I always like to read the book first before watching the movie because I like knowing the story from the original creator of the story. I learned that there was a book, published in 2013, so I bought it and finished it within three days.  I know, I’m a little late.

The story takes place in modern day and is about an alien invasion (think aliens similar to Ender’s Game Xenocide). The story begins with protagonists, Cassie Sullivan. She’s a high school student who is pretty much like your typical modern day high school teenager. She reminds me a lot of my 13-year-old in the way she thinks and dreams about boys, how she notices a certain cute boy who doesn’t notice her. I guess I can relate to that too because I clearly remember a boy I liked when I was in high school who didn’t know I existed. But, I liked the book not because I could relate to it in that way but because there was action and decisions and crazy things happening and good writing. I liked the world building and the character development although, I must say, I found some of the characters a bit weak in their character. For instance when the author switched from Cassie’s POV to Ben’s POV, I couldn’t clearly distinguish who it was at first because they sounded similar. Cassie tells us most, if not all, the back-story about the first wave through the fourth wave and brings us to the 5th wave so we’re not left wondering how they ended up in the 5th wave.

I enjoyed the author’s voice or writing style. It’s to the point and he often takes us ahead of the game so we are aware of what’s to come but the characters are not. I happen to really like this type of writing. I get irritated when the author withholds too much and I only know as much as the characters do or less.  The writing kind of reminds me of The Stand by Stephen King. Especially during the back story when the “plague” hit.

This book is categorized as a young adult (YA) but the language and sexual references didn’t give me the feel that this was a YA. The author may have tried to stay on the safer side but personally, if I have to think twice about letting my 13-year-old read it, then it’s not YA. Of course it’s nothing like the rated R contents in The Game of Thrones Series, but it’s not quite PG-13 like Hunger Games, Divergent, or Maze Runner either.

Overall, this was a great read. It was perfectly paced. New characters were thrown in later on so the reader could get a feel for the main protagonist. There was great tension buildup and great action scenes. The dialogue, sarcasm, and humor were awesome.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good post-apocalyptic sci-fi with military action and a touch of extraterrestrial.

I don’t know why but these two songs come to mind when I think of this book:

“Night Call” by Dead V

“Angel Warrior” by Dwayne Ford

Book Review: Divergent

DIVERGENTQUOTE_640

*Spoiler Alert*  Don’t recommend reading my review if you plan to read the book.

I first read, Divergent, by Veronica Roth in late 2013 and totally enjoyed it. I actually read the trilogy back to back and finished them all within three days (I did the same with the Game of Thrones series…read them back to back and now am awaiting the 6th book with crazy giddiness).  This is my second time reading Divergent and I still enjoyed it, but this time around a couple of things stood out more. There is a lot about bravery. Not that I didn’t notice it before but it stood out as a different kind of bravery, like a sacrificial kind.  Her mother tells her to be brave.  So does her father and Four, and so does Will with his quote. It’s almost like they are telling her to sacrifice herself for others, not to be strong or keep fighting, but to give her life. She learns that her mother is Divergent and then her mother goes and sacrifices herself to the serum-operated Dauntless soldiers, to save Tris of course, but still, to the eyes of a teenager, that is a very strange message about being brave, and in a way, that part is sort of like a foreshadow of Tris’s own demise down the road.

What really makes this book is the tension buildup.  Each chapter leaves me wondering when Tris will break.  It is done so well that when she finally breaks down, I do too.