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.

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.

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)

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Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)

“Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13206760-scarlet)

Where Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Because I absolutely loved Cinder, I was expecting Scarlet to join its prequel in my list of surprisingly good books. Alas, it was not to be. For some reason, I couldn’t like Scarlet as much as I liked Cinder. Because of this, whenever a chapter focused on her came up, I’d turn the pages hoping that the next would bring a chapter focused on Cinder. Cinder’s chapters were not all good, though. I thought Thorne’s character was somehow overdone. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I didn’t love the guy. If it were me, I’d have left him behind somewhere, accidentally on purpose.

Plotwise, it wasn’t as gripping as Cinder. Granted, we learned more about where Cinder came from, and that was something I was really curious about, but still, the whole thing didn’t come together the way I’d expected it to. My biggest hope was dashed at the end, in an extremely heartbreaking scene, set in Paris.

Maybe I couldn’t like Scarlet as much as I like Cinder because the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is not as close to my heart as Cinderella’s (come on, I watched Disney’s Cinderella over and over again. My mom still can’t hear the songs without cringing. And yes, I know that Disney’s Cinderella is a far cry from the original tale). As the tale of Rapunzel is not as dear to me either, I will read Cress with lower expectations (yes, I will be reading it).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn #1)

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Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn, #1)

One girl. One chance. One destiny.

In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of- age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .The heart-stopping first book in a new trilogy by UK author Kerry Wilkinson,Reckoning is the story of one girl’s determination to escape the whims of a cruel king, and what she must do to survive against all odds.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18490660-reckoning)

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

This book started really well by introducing us to the Reckoning, a coming of age test that determines to which caste the youth will belong to. The concept was familiar, as several dystopian books work with it, but I felt it was nicely done.

However, when Silver gets to the capital, as an Offering, the book slowed down, and I felt the dystopian aspect faded into the background, and the plot took a turn toward Silver settling into her new routine. Silver was a good character, albeit a little inconsistent. She would be rash in one page and, then, in the next, she would choose to fade into the background. I also missed a bit of background information on the other characters, but as Silver didn’t interact a lot with them, there was no way for me to get that information.

When the plot finally takes shape again, after the middle of the book, things got interesting again, because there was action. The ending was the best part of the book, and made me curious to learn what will happen next.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Adaptation (Adaptation #1)

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Adaptation (Adaptation, #1)

Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.

Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.

Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.

Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10744752-adaptation)

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Hachette Children’s Books for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

When I first read the synopsis for this book, what interested me was the whole ‘birds going crazy’ thing. I know birds are crazy, having been attacked by quite a few, so I was really interested to see how crazy birds would play a role in the story. To my disappointment, after the first chapters, in which they wreak havoc, the birds sort of disappeared.

Not only did the birds disappear, but what had started as a really intriguing story became a self-discovery journey. After the accident, Reese starts to question some things about her, and that, in my opinion, slowed the pace too much. I don’t mind self-discovery, but what I really wanted to know was, what was up with those birds? And they only reappeared at the end of the book.

Pace-wise, the best parts were the beginning and the end. As for the characters, Reese didn’t strike a chord with me. I don’t think I could ever be friends with her. At points, she came across as a bit naïve, especially given what happened, both to her and in North America. Some elements of the story were a bit too far-fetched, and made me stop reading to wonder why on earth would someone would do that, as the reasoning given didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

At this point, I don’t think I will be continuing this series.

Rating: 2 out of 5