The Invasion Of The Tearling (The Queen Of The Tearling #2)

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The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

“With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22698568-the-invasion-of-the-tearling)

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2015. The Queen of the Tearling just blew my mind when I read it. I loved the world building, the characters, the political plotting… It was just amazing. Because of this, I had to get my hands on THe Invasion of th Tearling as soon as possible. You can imagine how hard it was for me not to squeal like a kid learning she is going to Disney when I logged into NetGalley and saw this on my dashboard (I was at work, which is why I had to restrain myself).

But I digress. While I tentatively classified The Queen of the Tearling, this book is, in my opinion, firmly in the sci-fi/dystopia genre. At this point, I’m not entirely sure if I’m comfortable with that, but I need another book (not so sublte hint) to come to terms with it.

The beginning was a bit confusing, as it is often the case when I go back to a world I haven’t visited in a year. Here, the plot thickens and turns dark and hopeless, as it’s often the case in middle books. I found myself trying to find a way out for Kelsea, and came to the conclusion that, if I was in her place, I’d have thrown myself off a cliff.

This was, for reasons that will become clear when you read the book, not as engaging as the first book. At first, the Lily chapters were not that enjoyable as the Tearling chapters, as there was no apparent connection. I even got to the point of thinking that somehow two books had been mixed together in my ARC. But then it all made sense.

Furthermore, this is NOT a YA book. There is plenty of gore here, as well as other adult themes. This one definitely crosses into the adult genre, in my opinion. Which is not a bad thing, but do keep it in mind when you read this.

There are several questions left unanswered. I’m not going to spoil them, but gosh, it was frustrating!! I hope we get to know for good, as some hints have been dropped here and there (unless they’re red herrings). The ending raises a lot of questions about the Red Queen, about the sapphires, about the Crossing…

And now, I wait for the next book…

This Shattered World (Starbound #2)

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This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.”

– Taken from Goodreads

First off, that is one gorgeous cover! It’s still the first week of the year and we already have a serious contender for most beautiful cover of 2015! I love how it reflects the characters background, with Jubilee actually dressed in spacial military garb and Flynn wearing an outfit that has seen better days and also carrying a weapon. I also love the colors and the title typography (not sure how I feel about the authors’ typography).

While this shares a plot arc with its predecessor, These Broken Stars, this is set in a completely different environment, with a different set of characters, and a different subplot. That said, I did miss some sort of recap from the first book, considering it came out a year ago and over 200 books were read between them. On the other hand, I do realize, given that this is about different characters etc., how hard it would be.

My memories from These Broken Stars are a little (okay, a lot) fuzzy, but I seem to remember it having more romance than this one. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I missed it, as Flynn and Lee have loads of chemistry together. A very positive thing here was the absence of a love triangle and of insta-love. In fact, there was a quote that I absolutely loved and that shows the lack of insta-love here:

“I don’t have the luxury of dealing with his hormones -or mine, for that matter. What, did he think I was just going to melt into his arms? Start a tragic and dramatic tale of star-crossed lovers on a war-torn planet?”

While there was a slight shortage of romance, there was plenty of action. There was double-crossing, scapegoating, chases, kidnappings… Again, because I didn’t remember much of the first book, the plot wasn’t easy to figure out beforehand. So, if you want to keep things mysterious for this book, don’t go digging for a recap of These Broken Stars.

In terms of characters, I felt they were very nicely done. Lee was a strong heroine, of Asian descent, and she knew what it meant to be a part of a military organization, and reading her struggle with that was really nice. While Lee was world-weary and pragmatic, Flynn was more of a dreamer, a talker.

I was, for some unfathomable reason, expecting this to end in a more dramatic note. Then again, the main characters do not have the political significance of Lilac, from the first book. But I still felt it missed some sort of bang at the end.

Now I have to wait until December (Patience is not one of the many virtues that I possess *ahem*) for the end of this trilogy. Given what we have learned so far, it should be a blast!

Imitation (Clone Chronicles #1)

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Imitation

“Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face.

Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?”

-Taken from Goodreads

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Alloy Entertainment for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This had a very interesting concept, what with clones being made and kept in handy for whenever they are needed. Ven is one of them, and she is called into action after someone attacks her original. While it is not exactly explored, the idea that clones are not that identical to their ‘originals’ (genotype does not equal phenotype) is present throughout the book.

While I thought that Ven was a bit too meek at times, taking orders without question, that is how she was raised, trained, conditioned, I don’t know how to define it. It was nice to see her breaking out of it, becoming her own person.

In terms of plot, however, it wasn’t that developed. It was a plot with slow moments and then it would suddenly become full of action. Then it would get slow again. It was a bit too slow at times, verging on boring.

Soulprint

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Soulprint

“Alina Chase has spent her entire life in confinement. With the science of soul-printing now a reality, she is ‘protected’ for her own safety – and the safety of others – because her soul has done terrible things … or so she’s told. When Alina finally breaks out of prison, helped by a group of people with unclear motives, she begins to uncover clues left by her past life that only she can decipher. And she may not be as innocent as she once believed. Can Alina change her future, or is she fated to repeat her past and face the consequences? Perfect for fans of Sophie McKenzie.”

– Taken from Goodreads

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This had a really promising premise: soulprinting. In the same way that fingerprints are unique, so are souls. This means a soul can be traced from reincarnation to reincarnation, and that consequences of previous lives end up spilling into the present one. This is what happens to Alina. Because she had the misfortune of hosting June’s soul and because June was considered to be extremely dangerous, Alina spent her life locked in an island.

However, the execution of the premise leaves a lot to be desired if what you crave is action. There is not much action here. Well, there is, in the first few chapters. Then, it begins to drag and switches from action-packed to extremely philosophical. Halfway through, it seems the characters are more concerned with pondering whether or not the fact that a soul was bad in one life means it will be bad in the next life. Because of this, the thriller aspect fell apart, at least for me.

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)

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Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

“In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.”

– Taken from Goodreads

After the slight disappointment that was Scarlet, Cress brought the series back to track. It’s not that I didn’t like Scarlet, but I didn’t like it as much as I liked Cinder. With Cress, however, it was a different story. I liked Cress, the title character. She was, of course, naïve, but who wouldn’t be, after spending years alone in a satellite?

I felt the story moved faster as well. With the crescent cast of characters and being split into more POVs, it became more dynamic, and some of the characters became easier to like in this book. Thorne, namely, was one of them. He is still an arrogant twat, but he somehow became softer in his arrogance. If I had to rank the characters, Scarlet and Wolf would be at the bottom of my list. I just can’t really like them, I don’t know why. Who made the top of my list? Iko, definitely! I love her and her timing (or lack thereof).

In this book, we also got scary glimpses of the next title character, Winter. I am not looking forward to her POVs, they promise to be literraly crazy… But I am most definitely going to read the next book. I need to know how the whole thing ends! So many unanswered questions!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Perfected

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Perfected

“Perfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Kiera Cass’ Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.”

-Taken from Goodreads.

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This had a very intriguing world building, though not much was said about how it came to be. After all, in the present society slavery is abhorred. How, then, did it become once again acceptable to own someone else? That was a bit context that would be interesting to have.

Ella, because of training and her conditioning, came across as a bit naive. In her case, it was to be expected, and I felt her reaction to what was happening to her were adequate.

I didn’t really like the ending, though. So far, it seems this is going to be a stand alone novel. I really, really hope that’s not the case, as I’d love to see the events of the ending unfolded and developed. After all, as it’s often the case with stories set in dystopian societies, this one is showing some cracks. I’d really like to see whether they will be mended or just fall apart.

All in all, it was a very entertaining read, that made me want to know more about that dysfunctional society.

Outside In (Insiders #2)

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Outside In (Insider, #2)

“Me?

A leader?

Okay, I did prove that there’s more to Inside than we knew.

That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion;between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we’re free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again;while still touching base with Riley, of course. He’s the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there’s outside and then there is Outside.

And something from Outside wants In.”

-Taken from Goodreads.

As it is often the case with final books in dystopias, this one fell a little short. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first one, and I also felt that not all questions were answered.

Furthermore, I also missed some kind of recap. Names were mentioned, and I’d have no idea who they were or what they had done in the first book. Because of this, I had some trouble toward the end to keep track of who was who.

Trella, I felt, was a typical heroine, requiring some not so gentle pushes to leap into action. Once she does, the story becomes far more interesting and faster.

I was hoping the story would be taken in another direction, and that answers about Inside (what is it? How did it come to be?) would be given, but that was not to be.