Tag Archive | sci fi

Review: The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

Series: The Diabolic #1

the-diabolic-sj-kincaidA Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. Nothing else.

For Nemesis, that person is Sidonia, heir to the galactic Senate. The two grew up side by side, and there’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the Imperial Court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced Senators’ children, and Nemesis must find within herself the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have—humanity. With the Empire beginning to fracture and rebellion looming, that could be the one thing that saves her and the Empire itself.


 

3.5 Drink Me Potions


Wildly imaginative and set in a futuristic universe that feels familiar yet still so foreign, The Diabolic would’ve made a bigger impression on me if the first 50% hadn’t dragged in its information dump.

Setting the tone

I was at first very intrigued by how S.J. Kincaid crafted this futuristic world where humanoids were almost human (yet so much cooler and better in some ways!) and this complex religion was revered in honour of the great Cosmos who created this universe. From holographic communications to weird, traditional dances and etiquette, imaginative would definitely be the word to describe the beauty of the world building here.

The protagonist, Nemesis, was also very unique. As a Diabolic, she was one of those humanoids, but crafted for a specific, single-minded purpose: to protect the one she was chemically bonded to when young.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about her in the beginning. You can’t help but feel empathetic at first when you see how she was reared before meeting her master. It wasn’t pleasant, and definitely not humane. But I suppose since she wasn’t thought of as “human”, they don’t require all those excessive human luxuries, now do they?

But she wasn’t always the easiest person to love either. She was crafted to protect her master, Sidonia Impyrean, so that meant she had to be strong and ruthless to do whatever it took to ensure Sidonia’s safety and happiness.

And those Diabolics took their masters’ safety VERY seriously. Even the slightest offense or action or reckless behaviour could have Nemesis honestly considering whether to just kill this person or not. Her less-than-human thought process wasn’t always so easy to connect with her.

While this initially had me excited about the book, the novelty eventually wore off as the story slowly dragged. Things from the synopsis we knew was going to happen took forever to get there, and once Nemesis was hiding out at the Emperor’s place pretending to be Sidonia, it still took AGES to get the ball going. Like, what was the main arc of this book? Where was the excitement going to start happening? I don’t want to just read about Nemesis’ struggles in fitting in and just more fun facts about what these royals and spoiled teens do (although some of the activities they do seem rather fun–ahem, interesting chemical enhancement tech anyone?).

It wasn’t until like at the 50% mark that it truly started picking up my interest. And I’m surprised I made it there as there were times where I contemplated just not continuing.

What was with that sloooowww burn romance that popped up?

I always had a feeling that the infamous, mad (as in crazy) nephew to the Emperor who was next in line for the throne would be the potential love interest for Nemesis. He had more sides to him than you would think, although our first introduction to him in the book may not have immediately suggested that. But there would always be inklings of suspicion as why else would the author introduce us to him then?

Tyrus’ eventual relationship with Nemesis, especially after finding out who she was, was beautiful. I have no words. It had my heart pounding cheering them on even when they weren’t sure if they could truly trust the other. They were both so used to having to rely on themselves, but for different reasons. They were lonely and vulnerable people, yet they couldn’t show that to the outside world. They had to be emotionless. But with each other? They could afford to just BE. How beautiful is that?

I loved that it was realistic and it wasn’t instant. It took time for the both of them to get to the point where a healthy relationship would even be possible. And in the midst of this budding romance, the action wasn’t forgotten. HERE’S where the main arc of this story started popping up. Time to overthrow the evil emperor!

So for the next 50% of The Diabolic, my heart was racing and I was on the edge of my seat to hurriedly finish this darn book already! If only this thought had hit me like, 25% earlier! Could’ve saved me some time and stress over not loving a book.

If anything could save this book, I do think Tyrus’s relationship with Nemesis would. It definitely boosted my rating by A LOT.

Surprises and what not

I didn’t think this book had it to surprise me in any way. The romance was predictable (albeit written in a very delicious manner), and the main arc wasn’t a huge surprise either once the heat started packing to get it done.

However, a couple of things did manage to raise my eyebrows in a huh, I didn’t see that coming moment.

One would be Sidonia Impyrean. I didn’t dislike her, but I didn’t love her either. She didn’t seem to have too much of a backbone, unlike Nemesis. Clearly I could tell that she cared for Nemesis just as much, viewing her as if she was part of her family although a made “creature” such as Nemesis wasn’t really considered anything to love, let alone respect. She surprised in ways that I can’t really say without giving away spoilers. But I will admit that in hindsight, she wasn’t as one-dimensional as I initially pegged her.

The other would be the absolute cleverness in which the plot weaved itself towards the end. You have certain expectations of what’s gonna happen, but the HOW is still up in the air. Well, Kincaid really had a lot of fun with this how. And I will say that Tyrus is one mad genius! Wish I had a guy like him who thought 10 steps ahead as my friend.

But the most surprising was how much I ended up liking Nemesis. She wasn’t the cold-hearted creature I thought she was. Just because others thought she couldn’t feel (and in turn made her believe it too) didn’t mean that she was emotionless. She may have been created, but she still felt. As she navigated learning what it meant to live for herself for once, I think it explored many central themes, but especially towards a path of self-enlightening.

If these things couldn’t get your heart racing and excited nearer to the end, then maybe it’s just that sci-fi isn’t for you. Otherwise, hold onto your seats. You can get through the first half for a story that does deliver in the end! (Though I’m not sure how it’ll continue with book 2 and 3 when it ended at such a nice place here….but I’m not complaining!).

Overall Recommendation:
The Diabolic was smart and imaginative as it created a futuristic universe that was both familiar yet still so different. I enjoyed learning more about how the system ran here, who was in charge and the unique humanoids that were created for certain purposes. Enter our protagonist, Nemesis. She wasn’t easy to love at first, but she grows on you as you follow her adventures. You’ll cry (or its likeness as she can’t technically cry) with her, rage with her and fall in love with her. Kincaid’s story started off on the wrong foot, but I would think sci-fi fans would enjoy this addition to the genre.

Review: Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs

Series: The Hero Agenda #1

powerless-tera-lynn-childs-tracy-deebsKenna is tired of being “normal.” The only thing special about her is that she’s isn’t special at all. Which is frustrating when you’re constantly surrounded by superheroes. Her best friend, her ex-boyfriend, practically everyone she knows has some talent or power. Sure, Kenna’s smart and independent, but as an ordinary girl in an extraordinary world, it’s hard not to feel inferior.

So when three villains break into the lab where she interns, Kenna refuses to be a victim. She stands her ground. She’s not about to let criminals steal the research that will make her extraordinary too.

But in the heat of battle, secrets are spilled and one of the villains saves her life. Twice. Suddenly, everything Kenna thought she knew about good and evil, heroes and villains is upended. And to protect her life and those she loves, she must team up with her sworn enemies on a mission that will redefine what it means to be powerful and powerless…


 

3.5 Drink Me Potions


Powerless was a very entertaining story, the kind that gives you a couple of laughs and some cheap thrills as you watch the characters assemble from simple nobodies into who they’re meant to be: heroes.

Honestly, this isn’t the kind of book that’s dark and deeply moving or truly thought provoking. If you’re looking for that kind of grit to your stories, then this may not be your kinda of thing. Better turn around now.

No, Powerless was more of a predictable story about a girl without powers in a world where you’re either a superhero, villain or a simple nobody. Defenseless. Weak.

Of course, nothing is ever quite as simple as that, now is it?

Anyway, this whole world building was a little cliched, I will admit. Heroes vs. villains? Haven’t we heard about this like, in EVERY comic book that’s ever lived? So does this make Powerless Kenna’s origin story?? Hmm, something to think about.

I liked Kenna well enough. She didn’t let being powerless all her life prevent her from being brave and wanting to do the best she could for a world that overlooked people like her. Her attitude and personality was overall easily likeable, although not too memorable as I feel I’ve seen a version of Kenna in many other YA stories.

The plot was fun. There’s really no other word for it. Villains come crashing into your lab and your world turns upside d0wn, ’cause guess what? They’re not as scary or bad as you grew up hearing them as. And of course, it helps that they’re pretty darn hot looking too.

The story flow was at a good pace, never quite stalling in one area too long. Rebel, Kenna’s bestie, is one awesome sidekick type character (if this was actually like a comic book), and their opposite personalities balanced each other well. She also kept things more entertaining whenever there was a lull in villain problems.

As with the romance (’cause every good hero story should have a romance arc, right?), it was okay. I dunno, it wasn’t amazing or anything in my opinion. The plot and fun characters were what kept me happy and reading, but the romance with bad-boy Draven just…wasn’t ringing any chemistry bells in my head. He’s your typical “bad” boy who seems all tough and gruff on the outside but all gooey and sweet on the inside if you just dug deep enough and was able to strip away all that exterior aside (somehow). I didn’t see anything too special about him. Sure, he’s nice, but that doesn’t really stir any deep feelings, to be honest. And yeah, he had been on the run practically his whole life (kinda have to when the League of Superheroes puts you on the hit list of villains), but beyond feeling bad for him, I don’t love him.

Frankly, I don’t love any of these characters. The villains we’ve been introduced to, and the mash of heroes that surprisingly learn there’s another side to what they grew up hearing, make a good team together. But each one of them? There wasn’t a whole lot of character development. Their interactions are what kept things more exciting. If there was a dialogue scene between two characters for too long in the book, it just starts dying down a little.

There also wasn’t many female characters here either. I don’t know if that would piss some people off, but I felt a little uncomfortable that the only “powerful” girl was Rebel, while most of the time we’re surrounded by very unique powers from all the boys. Not a single one of them was powerless.

Lastly, the powers themselves were pretty awesome. I like the superhero genre and for that reason alone, I wasn’t too picky about Powerless. There isn’t a lot of YA novels out there filling this gap right now (as comics seem to do well enough on their own as it is), but overall, this novel was a fun read mixing the good elements of an origin story into a solid book. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next for Kenna and the ragtag team.

Overall Recommendation:
Powerless filled a gap in the YA genre for me, bringing forth a fun story about superheroes and villains thrown together as they realize the world isn’t quite what they all thought it was like. Kenna and her team of superpowered friends were a good mix, balancing each other out with their powers and their personalities. Together, they made the story interesting with a good mix of action thrown in as well as they battled to find out the truth and rescue those they love. Altogether, it wasn’t the most unique book ever written (frankly, it’s like a written comic book), but I wasn’t feeling picky and it satisfied well enough. If you’re looking for a lighter read with some super powers mixed in, I would suggest you give Powerless a try.

Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Series: The Illuminae Files #2

gemina-amie-kaufman-jay-kristoffMoving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The saga that began with Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum may be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival. The fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.


5 Drink Me Potions


I would think after the mindblowingly-awesomeness that was Illuminae, it would be a very hard act to follow. Fortunately for us, Gemina is equally as badass as its predecessor, if not even a smidge better in a few areas.

The events in Gemina are set literally minutes right after what transpired at the end of Illuminae, albeit in a different location on the Heimdall Jump Station where all our favourite cast of characters were racing towards in the previous book.

Both acting as a sequel and a companion novel, we follow a whole new cast of characters navigating a world that is about to turn UPSIDE DOWN and INSIDE OUT on its head.

We already know from Illuminae the level of pure genius that is a combination of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, but here is exactly why their genius-ness was NOT a one-off chance occurrence.

The new cast
I was a little worried at first that I wouldn’t love the new protagonists as much. After all, Kady and Ezra were pretty awesome in book 1, and their romance was just so SWOON-worthy. But worries can be laid to rest as Hanna and Nik have stolen my heart.

Hanna is honestly just as badass, if not MORE, than Kady. Being trained in multiple forms of martial arts by her Commander father – what a wonderful decision for father-daughter bonding, Commander – she had the skill set to help defend her station from the impending danger being wrought on them. Plus, it sure helps to have her courage and wit on top of that. She wasn’t the little spoiled rich girl that the other characters initially pegged her for, and I adored her for standing her ground and showing everyone what kinda heroine she could be when push came to shove.

These other said characters would include both Nik and his cousin Ella. Nik wasn’t the sweet kinda guy that Ezra Mason was (oh rest my beating heart), but he wasn’t exactly the bad-boy-criminal that I may have thought he was either. He didn’t want to be this way, but you can’t choose your family, can you? And for a hero, he was definitely the most surprising. Of all those onboard the Heimdall, I’m sure no one else would think he was hero material. I loved his POV as much as Hanna’s, and I’m glad that there was more of him in this story (whereas I’m still miffed that Ezra wasn’t as prominent in Illuminae as I had hoped).

Ella’s great too. She’s like that awkward third wheel of this ragtag resistance group against the invading mercs. She throws in those cringey moments when Nik and Hanna are getting too cozy, and make us laugh while everything else is coming to pieces and people are dying all around. She’s no innocent herself (gang family, remember??), but I love her heart and loyalty. She even seems to come around with her opinions of Hanna. Plus her particular skill set behind the scenes makes her the unsung heroine of this story.

The artistry of this book *insert glowing heart face*
You know, I didn’t think anything could be prettier than Illuminae and its dossier of special files. I loved everything about it, from the maps to the IMs and the hilarious Security Footage Summary with the censored swear words everywhere. I even adored AIDAN’s commentary and unintentionally deep and funny thoughts.

If you think you’re gonna be missing this, or that Gemina is just a replication of what has been done by these two authors already, then you’re in for a surprise. Yes, in a way, it’s the same as all these types of files are also found in this book (yay!), but no, it’s also different. How?

Author Marie Lu has also contributed to this work of art with journal drawings by Hanna. They’re absolutely gorgeous and it adds another layer to this wonderful dossier of files. Plus, there are certain new types of pages that I thought were hilarious. Likewise, sometimes the words and the directions they take represent the movements of the characters, or follow along with the drawing in the background.

And even better? Kady and even AIDAN are back in this novel, so if you’re thinking you’ll be missing them and their words, there will be pages on their involvement on the Hypatia. Don’t worry, the authors didn’t forget about them and their amazing survival to this point. Things will start to wonderfully tie in together.

Honestly? You may be someone who loves ebooks or audiobooks, but this is one series where you just HAVE TO get your hands on the physical copy to fully appreciate how beautiful it is. I can’t tell you how much more beautiful it is without a) ruining things, or b) inadequately describing how wonderful Gemina is even after the initial surprise has subsided with Illuminae. Just grab one and read it!

The twists and turns of the plot and the insane details
I remember clearly how crazy the plot twisted in Illuminae as it was so subtle but it just all made SENSE at the end of it. Here? There were certain points that didn’t initially make sense when I read them, but as the story unfolded and things unravelled in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined or guessed, it all clicked as well. I dunno how Kaufman and Kristoff do it, but they are absolutely BRILLIANT in how they weave together all the intricate ideas to make a great story told in a beautiful format.

Another sideline to this plot was the presence of alien creatures that are also problematic for the crew on board (as if having mercs onboard wasn’t bad enough, you know?). The detail put into their genus and species – there’s a whole wiki-type page for the creature that’s provided, and as a scientist, gotta appreciate that detailing! – as well as how it’s cultivated and everything was downright amazing. Like it’s just one little thing in this gigantic plot, but they don’t do anything halfway. I’m so impressed. It makes this whole dossier effect more real.

I can go on and on but…
I’m sure all the reviews can go on about the brilliance that’s this series. So you don’t need anything more from me. I will end by saying that Gemina is worth the buy (it was an automatic purchase for me too), and it’s just as good as its sequel which is a rare gem to find in YA these days. Full of action and hints of romance (unfortunately, not as much as it was with Ezra and Kady), it’s everything you can ask for.

No matter if you don’t like sci fi, or if you don’t like YA, or if you think it’s too long (honestly, 659 pages just fly by ), it’s ALL worth it. I’m just so glad that this book I’ve been waiting for a whole year for was just as great as I could hope and expect. I’m even more glad that I’m ending 2016 off with this as one of my last reads. It’s worth it, and I can’t wait to see what book 3 brings!

Overall Recommendation:
Honestly, there’s no way I can put all that I’ve praised in this glowing review of Gemina in a brief summary. I’ll try, but you should just read the whole darn thing. For a sequel, it’s just as amazing as book 1, and you won’t be disappointed. The new heroes are just as awesome as Kady and Ezra, there’s even more beauty in this new dossier of files collected from Jump Station Heimdall and unforeseen twists of the plot made this an unforgettable read. You NEED to get your hands on a hardcopy NOW of Gemina. Before the year ends, if you can. You won’t regret it. Promise.

Review: Gamescape: Overworld by Emma Trevayne

Series: The Nova Project #1

gamescape-overworld-emma-trevayneThe planet is dying. Centuries of abuse have damaged the earth beyond repair, and now all the authorities can do is polish the surface, make the landscape look pretty to hide the disease within. Two prominent yet mysterious businessmen couldn’t fix it, either, but they did something even better. Together, they invented Chimera, the most complex and immersive virtual reality video game the world has ever known. The Cubes in which Chimera is played quickly became a fixture of this landscape: part distraction, part hospital, and almost wholly responsible for holding up the failing world economy.

Miguel Anderson is also dying. He isn’t the only one who plays the game–everybody does–but Miguel has more reason than most: When players leave their Cubes for the day, the upgrades and enhancements they’ve earned for their virtual characters leave with them. New lungs to breathe poisoned air, skin that won’t burn under the sun are great and everything… but Miguel, born as broken as the earth, needs a new heart–and soon–if he wants any hope of surviving just a little longer.

Then the two Gamerunners announce a competition, with greater rewards and faster progression than ever before, and Miguel thinks his prayers have been answered. All he needs to do is get picked to lead a team, play the game he’s spent years getting good at, and ask for his prize when he wins. Simple, really.

At first, things seem to go according to plan. Mostly, anyway. Inside his Cube, with his new team–including his best friend–at his back, Miguel begins his quest. He plays recklessly, even dangerously, for someone whose most vital organ could give up at any moment, but his desperation makes him play better than ever. The eyes of the world are on him, watching through status updates and live feeds, betting on his chances. With greater rewards, though, come greater risks, and the Gamerunners seem to delight at surprising the competitors at every turn. As he ventures deeper into a world that blends the virtual and the real to an unsettling degree, Miguel begins to wonder just why the game was invented at all, and whether its stakes could be even higher than life and death. 


4 Drink Me Potions


Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review

**Gamescape: Overworld comes out September 13, 2016**

I’m not an avid fan of gaming like others may be, and not all stories based on virtual gaming works, but Gamescape: Overworld most definitely doesn’t fit in that category and surpassed all of my expectations.

Miguel needs a heart and this game that’s taken over the world seems to present that wondrous prize that just may help him live. And he’s good at it. Of course, everything has its own twists. It took a while for the story to get going as the gamemakers decided on this new team-play competition with the craziest prizes. The slow pacing here bugged me a bit but Trevayne kept me very much entertained with her imaginative descriptions of each level that Miguel fought to beat. The different ways you can die and the tools collected along the way, not to mention the whole idea of gaming in these giant cube-like buildings around the city, her world building was on point.

The storyline continued to be action-packed as Miguel battled his way to team leader and gained a new team to look after. Each individual member on his team was different, with their own fears to face and baggage they carried. I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions, whether it be positive ones or arguments that arose during the stressful game play.

Emotionally, Trevayne was pretty good at bringing out the vulnerabilities in her characters. This isn’t just a story about gaming or high-tech equipment. Miguel obviously dealt with a lot of stress and emotional baggage. At any moment, his heart could stop. But there was this one moment in the first half of the book that made me pause. It was beautifully sad. Our hero wasn’t a shining one on some white horse. He was a broken boy that just wanted to breathe his first breath of LIFE. Without the fear of dying on his back so constantly.

As for romance, it’s not such a huge part of the story. There is a love interest and she was part of Miguel’s new team, but I honestly wasn’t so interested in that whole aspect at all, which is pretty crazy for me to say. The story was so steeped in gaming intrigue, with the crazy “worlds” built for each level and the suspense of being the first team to win it all, that anything as trivial as a budding romance didn’t register as important with me. But if you like a taste of romance in your stories (as I normally do), there’s still a bit of that present.

I will conclude that what brought this whole story a higher rating was how it all tied in with the mystery of who the gamemakers were and why they created Chimera in the first place. What was its purpose? Why build a game when the world was falling apart when there could be a number of better things to do? Who were they working for?

Snippets of conversations in both the gamemakers’ perspectives in between chapters were the highlight of this novel, in my opinion. As the story continued, pieces were dropping into place until everything just CLICKED. This whole thing was so much bigger than you could ever imagine. The whole GAME was more than it just looked on the surface. The ending was absolutely fantastic. It had my heart racing and wondering how they would get out of this mess. I can’t give much more away, but know that it all goes way beyond the clichéd gaming storyline trope that’s more commonly used in a story like this. Trust me on this, you’re in for a surprise.

Overall Recommendation:
Gamescape: Overworld is levels more than what you may expect from a book about gamers. Yes, it’s full of action as Miguel fights his way for the most important prize of all, but it’s also about facing your fears and making the right calls in the heat of the moment. The suspense builds as Trevayne teases us with little bits about the mysterious gamemakers that started it all in between certain chapters. Who are they and what big plans did they have in store for the gamers beyond the surface level of more prizes? Even if you’re not a fan of gaming, this story has something for everyone. At the heart of it, this story is about choices. Follow Miguel and you will find out just what kind of an emotional ride this will take you on.

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Series: Starbound #1

these broken stars -amie kaufman & meagan spoonerIt’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.


 

3.5 Drink Me Potions


When author reviews called this book full of “dynamic characters”, they literally mean just the protagonists. ‘Cause honestly? This almost-400-page book only follows Tarver and Lilac in their journey of survival on some strange planet.

These Broken Stars wasn’t quite like what I expected. Of course, it’s hard not to have higher expectations when this book has been raved about by many reviewers. I reckoned there’d be more fighting or action type scenes. I was strangely wrong, but I think I enjoyed it regardless of the lack of action (or interaction beyond our two characters).

The novel drops Tarver and Lilac into the situation we are anticipating for – that being their impending crash landing onto a foreign planet as the sole survivors – quite quickly, and the little bits before the accident actually occurs helped to get a taste of what the dynamics in their relationship would be like upon realizing they’re the last 2 people alive and stranded in this world (literally, not just some expression you say).

The events on the planet are fairly straightforward and not that unpredictable. Or at least, the travelling aspect of their journey. Find ship. Find hopefully help, or at least equipment that could send for help.

But anything else beyond that? It was mind-blowingly surprising. I hadn’t read the synopsis very thoroughly when I picked up this book so the introduction to what Lilac fondly called the “whispers” were extremely astonishing. I was like, there’s paranormal activity on this planet too??? It transformed this place from Unknown Territory to Downright Eerie Let’s-get-outta-here-quick. This mystery was an essential part of the plot that kept me going.

Okay, so the dynamics between Tarver and Lilac? Not so good there in the beginning. And frankly, I’m with Tarver on that. Lilac was a total stuck-up know-it-all. Or at least, she tried to give that vibe since she didn’t want to look “weak” in front of a mere soldier, who for all she knew, would tell the tabloids and press about her moments of weakness later. From reading her POVs, I knew she didn’t suck quite as much, but it didn’t make me like her much more. She was making life so much harder than it had to be. I may be a girl and I kinda get her standpoint, but sorry, Tarver most definitely gets my sympathies there. The fact that he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving her behind, all helpless and possibly eaten by some scary, unknown creature, shows that he’s so much better of a character than I am.

So yes, their relationship wasn’t all that much fun to follow at first. They tolerated each other, at most. Star-crossed lovers? Yeah. Haven’t quite gotten to that stage yet. And what blew me away? Their love for each other kinda snuck up on me when it did eventually reach that point. Sure, being stranded as the only 2 people alive could spring up feelings, but I knew theirs wasn’t quite so simple. They contemplated even staying on this godforsaken place if it meant they didn’t have to face “reality” back in their own worlds, the lives they left behind across the universe. I just couldn’t pinpoint how, or the moment when, they finally realized what they felt for each other was love. I knew they would, but that’s not the same as feeling it with them when you’re caught up in their passion, in their story.

Ah well. Besides that minor contention, I enjoyed both their POVs quite a lot in the later half of the book. Their relationship was one that I think more YA novels should be like. They were equals, each giving their strengths into the relationship to support the other, while not hesitating to point the other’s weakness or flaws that need to be worked on.

I want to say more about the ending but that would only lead to accidentally giving away something, even the smallest thing, that would make it any less than what it was. What I can say is that it was heart-poundingly intense and haunting. The haunting part may have been enhanced by the fact that I was listening to a particular song at the time that gave me the chills, but I’m sure the novel had a huge hand in it too. Of course, you may already have guessed it, but it does have something to do with the mystery of the “whispers” I mentioned earlier. It was not quite what I expected, and a certain twist that I definitely did not foresee left me turning the pages faster and faster.

These Broken Stars may really have no supporting characters at all, but Lilac and Tarver’s personal growth as they challenged each other on this journey for survival was more than enough. This was a sci-fi novel with a beautifully crafted world (or should I say universe?) building and plenty of intrigue that most definitely wasn’t all answered yet. Gotta leave some things for the sequels, right?

But oh, how I was disappointed that my main question wasn’t answered by the end. Like honestly. What the heck brought down the Icarus onto this strange planet?

Overall Recommendation:
With an explosive ending I did not see coming, These Broken Stars mostly met those high expectations that awaited it in my mind. Tarver and Lilac were characters you may have felt you knew from other books, but the way they grew during their awful predicament and with each other was wholly original. They were more than enough to carry this story with their interpersonal dynamics and blooming love. However, what cemented this for me was the mystery at the very heart of the novel. The haunting quality of what awaits you there left me breathless many times throughout. This is a novel that’s equal parts well-crafted sci-fi and warm romance. I can see why so many love this.

Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

Series: The Leveller #1

the leveller -julia durangoNixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?


 

3.5 Drink Me Potions


The Leveller is a nice combination of gaming fun that doesn’t get too tech-y to annoy non-gamers but also revels in an imaginative gamer’s world. Its well-paced action and unique gaming checkpoints to complete was most definitely entertaining.

I myself am not much of a huge gamer. I play some but I’m definitely not hardcore by any means. So to enter a genre of science fiction dealing with gaming technology would be a hit or miss for me. The Leveller surprisingly bypassed my expectations of mediocrity.

The most surprising element (and probably the most enjoyable) was the varying levels of horror that our fierce protagonist, Nixy, had to face in order to reach Wyn in his custom world within the game. From fighting off giant centipedes to sharks underwater and anacondas, the suspense of getting through each level without dying and restarting had me on the edge of my seat. The unknown challenges she had to face was just as entertaining, although I wish the overall maze component of the story took up a bigger portion of the plot.

The characters were mostly fresh and original. Nixy, otherwise known as Phoenix, was spunky. She didn’t let others get her down for being a leveller. Her two best buds, Chang and Moose, also had character (if the interesting names they go by don’t already suggest that). Together, it was like watching a gaming trio do its magic on a gaming world they knew so well.

However, what stuck out even more was the gaming world building. It’s uncertain how far in the future this is set, but I’m assuming it’s to be reminiscent of the potential NEAR future. Durango really developed and described this gaming platform, the MEEP, to the minute details. It must be due to her experience as a gamer to go to such fine workings of this program. It’s interesting whether or not the idea of a virtual reality gaming experience is completely original or not. I appreciated the details because it gave me the sense of what was truly going on for Wyn and Nixy in this complex trap they found themselves in.

What could be improved for me was the abrupt ending and the romance. The twist was nice, although not necessarily unpredictable. It brought about more questions than answers which even the characters voiced out. I’m glad to see there’s a second book, but for such a short and easy read, it could’ve maybe left it at a nicer point.

As for the romance, I just didn’t feel it with Wyn and Nixy. 6 days trapped in the MEEP together can cause a lot of stressful bonding, but there just didn’t seem to be a lot connecting them. They’re attractive people? They’re under high stress? That doesn’t make it any less strange to see them kissing all of a sudden. I hope it gets a little better in the next one, but at least romance isn’t truly a strong contender in this novel.

For a book that I picked randomly to read, The Leveller overall surprised me in a good way and I look forward to seeing what comes next for Nixy and Wyn.

Overall Recommendation:
The Leveller is full of action and smartly written challenges for Nixy Bauer, our protagonist, to face as she tries to rescue some millionaire’s son. With checkpoint levels to pass in a virtual world holding Wyn captive, this story is both exciting and suspenseful as we race to get to the bottom of this crazy scheme and escape the MEEP. There’s not too much gamer-talk or references to annoy, but I’d say it would still satisfy those who enjoy this genre. Overall, it was a surprisingly easy read albeit ending abruptly with the most hideous cliffhanger. Romance lovers, this story isn’t for you, although I think you may still find some enjoyment from other areas.

Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

Series: Starflight #1

starflight -melissa landersLife in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…


 

3.5 Drink Me Potions


Starflight was a cute story of a girl who just wanted freedom from a life full of unfair situations but instead finds herself dragged into a grand adventure around the galaxies upon meeting an old rival from school.

The book was full of witty and fun banter, something I’ve come to appreciate from Landers. Solara was understandably tough, but not as tough of a character as I would have thought from the synopsis. She hated her felony tattoos on her hands and it was understandable, as an orphan with no one who really cared about her, to want to escape into a place where she could be her own person without a worry in the world.

Meanwhile, her love interest, Doran, originally came off as that annoying golden boy who gets everything kinda stereotype. He really fit that bill. He gains a more original personality later on that makes you like him more, but at the end of the day, the same can be said for him as well. Both him and Solara were characters I grew to like, but not people I grew to connect with or even love , which is important for main characters in good stories.

The secondary characters had interesting personalities that made them special and fun to see how they interacted with each other. They each had a back story, although some weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been, which would have made them more solid and real in my books than just the label you put on them. For example, the first mate was a bespectacled kleptomaniac, but if he’s only defined by that label, it doesn’t necessarily make him all that special or real. He as a whole person would need more than just that one thing, no matter how interesting, to make a good character whose purpose isn’t only to just enhance Solara and Doran’s story.

The pacing set me off a little too. It wasn’t slow necessarily. Things are always happening for the ragtag crew on board the space craft Banshee. But it wasn’t necessarily intense. The plot didn’t really build up for most of the book until maybe the last 60 pages or so. Like, sure, someone’s chasing them. They escape. They go somewhere else in space. Whoopee.

The romance was interesting. Doran was truly awful in the beginning, so it was enjoyable to see the gradual change in their interpersonal dynamics. It wasn’t insta-love. They went from rivals/enemies to cohorts and acquaintances to finally friends and people who loved one another. It took time and certain events to drive forward those feelings. It was nice, don’t get me wrong. It just didn’t induce intense heart-pounding feelings in me. At the end of the day, I just didn’t find myself as invested in the outcome as I normally would be in romances that initially seemed hard to come by for the characters.

Overall, Starflight was definitely an enjoyable read. The ending wasn’t a cliffhanger or anything. It ended pretty much on a happy note. The characters don’t necessarily change the world or have everything solved for their individual problems, so unless resolution is a key component for you to enjoy a novel, it was nice. But nice only goes so far and it just seemed to be lacking something that may just be a personal preference.

Overall Recommendation:
Starflight was a fun sci-fi book that definitely had stuff going on for the main characters and even the side characters. However, beyond the easy read and amusing banter between a unique group of friends, it was just missing some suspense throughout the middle that would’ve driven a higher rating, even though plenty of “action” was going on. These events just fizzled out too quickly and shifted from one to the other without racking enough excitement linking them all together. The romance was enjoyable and cute, but it too seemed to lack a certain element to invest more emotion from the reader into them. Overall, it was a nice plot and story that I liked, but did not love.

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series: The Illuminae Files #1

illuminae -amie kaufamn and jay kristoffThis morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


5 Drink Me Potions


Kady Grant: He said, “You picked a hell of a day to dump me, Kades.”


I don’t lightly give 5 star ratings, but Illuminae has swept my breath away. It is literally a piece of art, with the unique layout of pages from hacked memos to re-routed secret IMs to black and white pictures of space. But it’s not just an ordinary piece of art. It’s a masterpiece, crafted in such a creative manner like nothing else I’ve ever read before.

It starts off with a storyline that you think you’ve heard before. Girl dumps boy for some reason that is hinted but not revealed yet. Okay, sounds familiar enough. But all hell breaks loose literally hours after, with fire falling from the skies as a rival company drops out of nowhere to attack their tiny planet on the edge of the known universe.

Sweet. So our characters, Kady and Ezra, rush up into spacecrafts fleeing from the enemy. Okay, it still sounds familiar enough. Life on a spaceship hurtling through the universe? Might have seen something like that before.

But it’s WAY bigger than that. Action is ratcheted high within the first several pages. You’re flipping through the pages of documents and transcripted interviews trying to figure out what the heck went down. And as things start making sense, like who attacked them and why this company would do such a thing, there are still so many uncertainties open.

Ezra and Kady get separated on 2 different ships so our two exes ignore each other for a while. Of course, that doesn’t last. As things get worse as they journey for help in the distant universe, Kady with her hacker skills turns to Ezra as he’s the last person in the world she has left. Their IMs were some of my very favourite part of Illuminae. For most of the story, they’re apart and so we really get to see how they interact with other people around them beyond each other. Their personalities become real and tangible. Not just some hero or girl-who-broke-his-heart or however they are with each other. They feel like REAL teenagers that you and I may have bumped into or have known.

But with each other? It’s priceless. It’s clear their chemistry hasn’t died down with the months and distance between them. The love there isn’t just driven by desperation or fear or craving for familiarity in a world that has turned upside down. Amidst all the craziness (and oh boy, is there craziness!), this tale is still a beautiful love story of two people who would do anything for each other.

 

Still there is no time for sorrow. She knows he is in here somewhere, the one she risked everything for.
The only one she has left. The one she loves true.
“Ezra?”

 

And goodness. Ezra Mason is one funny and romantic dude.

 

Mason, E, LT 2nd:Damn, I still remember first day in her class. You were checking me out HARD, Grant.
ByteMe: U. R. DELUSIONAL. u kept asking me stupid questions about hydrogen bonding
Mason, E, LT 2nd: confession: hydrogen was not the kind of bonding on my mind

Continue reading

Review: The Body Electric by Beth Revis

the body electric -beth revisThe future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?


2.5 Drink Me Potions


A potentially corrupt government system that’s apparently always watching through the tiniest lens? Uh, Big Brother, anyone?

The Body Electric has left me with amazingly conflicted feelings by the end of it. This is a story that follows a conspiracy that takes everything to a whole new, futuristic level set in the 22nd century. I liked Beth Revis’ Across the Universe trilogy and was excited to see another standalone book from her. I love the fact that the science fiction doesn’t go all techy and hard to follow. It enhances the experience of this futuristic setting but doesn’t take centre stage and grabs all the attention away from the central plot. For the most part.

But, for the first two-thirds of the book, I was half driven insane by our dear, dear protagonist, Ella. Sometimes I complain about protagonists who are just SO special that only they can save the world. As if no one else is capable of doing the same thing ’cause they just don’t have that intrinsic ability in them.

This girl? Ella Shepherd? She’s just plain boring and tiresome to follow. Ok, so she may not be entirely unspecial, as she plays an interesting role in the story, but she definitely lacks something.

And that something is courage.

She wavers ALL the time about not starting another war. Not trusting Jack, the guy she supposedly loved but couldn’t remember. Not wanting blood on her hands. She tries my patience to the very extreme. She’s weak and clearly not cut out of the same fabric as heroes with “saving the world” as their destinies. She leads trouble to the very group of people who may be the only thing standing in the way against the government. She’s the liability. And even she knows this.

“My nanobot count, the tracker bots that were inside of me, my abilities…I don’t know if I can’t be trusted because of what I am or because Jack doubts what side I’m on, but at the end of the day — I’m a liability.”

Even when it’s clear the government isn’t what they appear to be, she’s willing to set Jack up for them on a golden platter all like “Oh hey, maybe I can trick some details out of him to give to the person RULING this entire world”. You’re damn right she’s not special. She’s downright cowardly. And I absolutely DETEST following a character like that.

That’s not to say Jack doesn’t annoy me either, with his devil-may-care kinda attitude. His many flippant remarks about just “how devilishly handsome he is” makes me wanna slap him whether or not he was serious or joking. The time and place for those comments weren’t ever appropriate in the context of the situation. I couldn’t take him seriously saying those things.

But for a love interest, for a girl like Ella, he could’ve done SO much better than her. For the most part, he was at least courageous and believed strongly in his cause for fixing up the government’s mistakes. Looking out for the people the government has forgotten. And if his only flaw was calling Ella “love”, then he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Too bad she couldn’t see that and just acted like some petulant child.

“Jack looks up and notices my nervous face. “I don’t bite, love.”
I whip around. “I told you to quit calling me that. I don’t care what kind of person I am in your memory. Because I’m not that person now.”

Clearly, she’s not the easiest person to be around. To be fair, she did have her memory wiped of him, but still.

Anyway, if you can stick it to the last 1/3 of The Body Electric, it does get a little exciting. I could never quite figure out where Revis was going with the plot, or how this whole conspiracy thing was going to end.

I don’t want to ruin anything, but I will say this. It confused the crap out of me. Like, seeing as Revis’ inspiration for “reveries” and Ella’s ability to slip into other people’s dreamscapes was based on Total Recall (if you know what that is), it was hard to determine what was reality or not in the end. However, the overall conclusion was satisfactory and didn’t leave any loose ends hanging. Although the romance never really quite hit it for me, even after Ella started falling for Jack again.

Overall, it really makes one think. With the way science and technology is going, what would the difference really be between an Artificial Intelligent cybernetic android and a human?

A soul, maybe? That’s something to think about.

Overall Recommendation:
The Body Electric presented a really unique futuristic setting on Earth with technology that was believable and concerns that seem quite real with how governments and people would use such technology. If it hadn’t been for a heroine that just seemed more like a liability than a, well, hero, for most of the story, I think I would’ve rated this a lot higher. Unfortunately, Ella doesn’t really mold into her own until far too late, but if the central conspiracy theme has hooked you in from the start, I’d say this novel can still be saved by its very reflective (and slightly confusing) ending.

Review: The Thirteenth World by A.N. Willis

Series: The Corridor #2

the thirteenth world -AN willisTime is running out for Stel Alaster.

The Corridor, the only portal between First and Second Earth, is failing and the barriers between all twelve worlds are thinning.

Using her unique ability to travel through the multiverse, Stel sets out to save the Corridor . . . and ends up discovering a mysterious new world.

In the sequel to The Corridor, will the thirteenth world hold the key to the Corridor’s secrets?

Or will the portal implode and take every last universe down with it?


3.5 Drink Me Potions


Thank you Alloy Entertainment for this copy in exchange for an honest review

**The Thirteenth World comes out on September 29th!**

It began a few weeks after the cliffhanger of The Corridor left us. And my, could I say that the cliffhanger had me itching to get my hands on this sequel so much faster??

Anyway, I have a lot less complaints about this one. For once, the sequel may have surpassed its predecessor, which is rather high praise coming from me.

From book one, you would know that all is NOT happy and well on First Earth where Stel and most of her friends were from. The Corridor is acting up and is even MORE unstable than before, if that’s possible. And now? She was separated from everyone she loved and her portal wasn’t working. Talk about jumping into serious stuff immediately.

If you read my review for The Corridor, you’d know just how much I wanted to punch a ton of the characters. My despise for Dr. Tabor, aka the worst family friend EVER, literally made me wanna lock her up somewhere to get a taste of her own medicine. She did not win any points with me, as I suppose that wasn’t the plan.

However, to my surprise, my huge dislike for Stel’s brother Justin has actually faded. I know, I know. He redeemed himself in my eyes, although I truly hadn’t wanted that to happen after all he did. His character really grew and I could understand a little on why he did what he did. I’ll let you judge for yourself whether he was worth redeeming.

Justin may have outgrew his asshole-ness, and so it also seemed that Stel’s old bestie Lissa didn’t suck as much either. She was truly helpful when it came to controlling Overprotective Brother Syndrome, and I guess what she did at the end of The Corridor was somewhat redeeming too.

“My brother had been shocked into silence when Cohl and I came home earlier…Unfortunately, the silence hadn’t lasted long.
‘He’s too old for you. Plus, I don’t like his attitude. And that
hair.’
‘You sound like an old man right now…Can we please not have this conversation? I’m leaving in twenty minutes.’…
Lissa took one look at me and my brother, and swooped in between us. ‘Justin! I was hoping to find you. I need your help, um…lifting something very heavy.’
‘Oh?’ Justin gave me another glare, but his attention was rapidly moving to Lissa’s.
‘Yep. Very, very heavy. I know you’re the
only guy around here who could lift it.’
Justin pushed back his shoulders, and crossed his arms. Which just so happened to make his biceps bulge. ‘I’ll take care of it for you.'”

I don’t know what it was about this book, but everyone that was pure AWFUL last time around was just….nicer? I guess the potential destruction of your life as you knew it could do that to you…

Stel’s identity crisis in this novel was hugely focused. What is she? Why could she do what she could do? And now everyone was counting on her to save the entire multiverse. Talk about big responsibilities.

She faced a lot of conflict about where she came from, and her actual birth heritage. Plus, did people see her for who she was, or just that girl with the super-portal-making powers? Was that all she summed up to now? It was nice to see some depth to the story, beyond the sci-fi/dystopian feel of the plot.

Likewise, The Thirteenth World wasn’t just great on character growth, but also more action-packed. Come on, the whole multiverse is coming to chaos and potential implosion of all the worlds. That’s crazy stuff. Sure, the astrophysics or pseudo-physics (I wouldn’t know if half of that stuff was true or made sense…) flew beyond me, but it sure was fascinating to hear how their ragtag group was gonna prevent such chaotic consequences from happening.

And more WORLDS! Who wouldn’t love visiting another world that oddly seemed like yours but isn’t? It’s just a shame that the world-building took a backseat in this sequel as there was more focus on the Corridor and fixing it. I would’ve loved to have known a little more backstory into one of the new Earths that was visited here.

And before you all berate me for this long review without talking about it….I will admit that Cohl has grown on me too. See? What IS with this book and redeeming characters? I didn’t feel the chemistry there with him in the last book. Hello? He was a TOTAL ASSHOLE to Stel in the beginning. Rude, much? And then you tell me you grew feelings for her? Uh, NOT buying it.

Anyway, that was in the past. Their romance and the predicament of being from two different universes really stresses the LONG in long-distance romance. I loved that beyond having those dopey “I-love-you-and-I-miss-you” kinda conversations, there was a level of friendship that felt lacking previously.

“Cohl said, ‘We’ll have to try somewhere else. One of the other Earths we’ve never visited. What do you think?’
‘I think your plan is perfect. And that you’re amazing.’
‘Anything else? Don’t stop now, this is just getting good.’
I inhaled deeply. ‘You smell pretty nice, too. Don’t let it go to your head.’
‘Too late.'”

Their love felt more real too. And in one scene, the writing was superbly touching. And so true. It described how real love should be like, and in that moment, I knew their love had won me over (’cause the writing didn’t make me wanna gag instead).

“We stayed there in the kitchen until almost midnight. We didn’t talk, didn’t even kiss, just held each other…..We’d said the words – that we loved each other – but that wasn’t really how I knew it was real. It was in the pauses, in this quiet moment when words had failed us. A touch, a look…It was the fierce ache around my heart, the stiffness in my lungs. It was being together until the very last priceless second.”

I’m assuming this is the last book of the series, although I had initially thought it’d be a trilogy. I will say that it won’t let you down. It wrapped things up nicely, but not too nicely like a stiff present. My only disappointment is that there won’t be any more exploration of the other 12 worlds. *secretly hopes for a spin-off book…*

Overall Recommendation:
The Thirteenth World definitely holds more grit and action, now that all the introductions to this slightly-futuristic-yet-not-too-far-off-into-the-future kinda world has been made. A ton of characters that I previously hated with a passion has surprisingly redeemed themselves without making me want to gauge out my eyes for reading it. And beyond character growth, it still held intrigue when dealing with multiverses, potential implosion of the worlds and, of course, the intricate workings of portal travelling. I think it summed up all the questions you ever asked and more. Definitely give it a shot.

Note: All quotes taken from this arc are subject to change