Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Title: Morning Star (Red Rising #3) Author: Pierce Brown Published: Febuary 9, 2016 Genre: Adult Science Fiction Note: Because I find it impossible to write a synopsis of this book it is being left out of this review. I’ve kept this review as … Continue reading

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 4.5 Stars

IlumimiaeTitle: Illuminae

Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published: October 20, 2015

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Synopsis: Just hours after their recent break-up, exes Kady and Ezra find their home planet in the middle of a war between intergalactic corporations. In the evacuation the two find themselves on separate space ships.

If they want to survive Kady, Ezra, and the other refugees need to reach the nearest jump station, through which they can reach a more densely inhabited region of space, before those who invaded their planet catches up with the refugees.

Review: At first I had a hard time getting into this book. Adjusting to the formatting was a bit of a challenge, and months at a time passed in a matter of pages.

When I was on page 366 of 599 I noted in a Goodreads update:
“At first I was having trouble getting used to the constantly changing formatting, it can be jarring at times, but now I’m really starting to get into the story and the pace has really sped up.
— Dec 15, 2015 07:42AM”

However, I think the pacing picked up for me at an earlier point than I noted in that update. It was likely around page 250 or so. With the formatting the way the novel built to a climax was necessary to give the reader time to adjust to the formatting before everything started happening at once.

For those who think that this book is long with its length of nearly 600 pages I would like to remind them of the formatting. Had this book been written in the standard form of a novel there would likely have been much shorter.

I had a slight problem with some of the times technology was mentioned in this book. The characters had cars, a subway system, and tablets. It seemed as if at times the only technology that had progressed were weaponry  and spaceships that allowed for long distance space travel.

Considering that this book is supposed to take place in 2575, or over five hundred years in the future, this threw me out of the story a little. This is, however, a minor concern. Due to the way the story was narrated these objects were not described in detail and may have born little resemblance to their 2016 equivalents.

As this story takes place almost entirely on space ships in an isolated part of this fictional future, the reader isn’t told as much about the way the government functions  and other habitable planets. I think this was a good choice on the part of the authors as it allows the reader to become slowly immersed in the world-building as opposed to having the need to learn everything all at once. I hope to see more world building in the sequel.

I ended up reading this book twice. Once in physical form and then again in audiobook format not long after. This is unusual for me.

What Readers Should Know: This book contains many character deaths and zombie like individuals. All of the cursing in the physical version of the book is censored, but in the audio book the first and last letters of most of the curse words is not censored making it easy to tell what all of the censored words are.

Rating: This book started out a little hard to get into, but the second half made up for this.

4.5 blue jays

January 2016 Wrap-up

I read eleven books and a novella in January. I’ve been keeping track of how many books I read each month since January of last year. This is the largest number I have on record.

Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)Fire Falling (Air Awakens, #2)

Short Synopsis: A teenage girl might be the only one who can determine the end of a war.

Thoughts: These books are very fast paced and addicting. This would be a good read for people who either haven’t read a lot of fantasy, or are looking for a fast paced fantasy novel. I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy, and these novels contained several common tropes that kept me from loving the story entirely.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

25403108Short Synopsis: Alcatraz discovers most of the world is secretly ruled by a cult of evil librarians. He must stop them by going on a quest to rescue a bag of sand believed to have the potential to allow the librarians to complete their quest for domination.

Thoughts: This book left me conflicted. On one hand, it had me frequently laughing out loud, the way it purposefully broke the “rules” of narration sometimes left me staring in awe, and the concept of a world ruled by librarians was interesting to consider.

On the other hand, the “rules” of narration are “rules” for a reason, and I sometimes found myself annoyed. This is also far from my favorite work by this author, and I’m interested to see what he would have come up with had this book been written more recently.

I listened to this one in audiobook format, and the reader did an excellent job. I looked at the text and saw parenthesis everywhere. I am not a fan of parenthesis, though I know they were used on purpose in this case.

Rating: 4 blue jays

17910048Short Synopsis: An 18-year-old, half-goblin, half-elvish young man who has lived his life in exile inherits an elvish kingdom.

Thoughts: Normally, books that don’t build to a dramatic climax are a pet peeve of mine, but this one just works somehow. I think I just found the court intrigue so interesting that the lack of frequent action and a climax didn’t bother me much.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire, #2)16100976The Dark Secret (Wings of Fire, #4)18527497

Short Synopsis: Books 2 through 5 of a series that follows five young dragons who are prophesied to end a war.

Thoughts: I continue to enjoy that this story is told from the perspective of dragons rather than humans, though parts of it were a little formulatic. It started to break the formula a little towards the end which I appreciated.

The end of book five feels like a complete story arc, and I’m not sure whether I will continue. However, the narrator of the next book is of particular interest to me so there is a high possibility of it.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Invaded (Alienated, #2)

Short Synopsis: Human and space alien exchange program gone wrong. The second book in a trilogy.

Thoughts: The first time I tried to read this book I started reading Mistborn: The Final Empire not long after. Those who frequent this blog are probably familiar with how much I enjoy Brandon Sanderson’s works, and will not be surprised when I say that this book didn’t stand a chance of being finished then.

In January I ended up trying again with this book from the beginning after I learning I would have the opportunity to attend the author’s book signing. I enjoyed this book much more the second time around and am looking forward to reading the author’s newest release.

4 blue jays

Legion (Legion, #1)

Short Synopsis: A man uses hallucinations to solve crimes.

Thoughts: This novella was a lot of fun, and very creative. The Emperor’s Soul remains my favorite of Sanderson’s novellas, but I’m interested to see what direction the sequel takes.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Carry OnShort Synopsis: Magicians try to save the world from the magic depleting creature known as the Insidious Humdrum and solve the mystery behind a murder while sorting out their complicated love life.

Thoughts: There were some aspects of this book that I really liked, and others that I didn’t like so much. The pacing was too slow at the beginning and too fast at the end. Some of the point of views seemed unnecessary. There was also the use of parenthesis, which I actually thought were used exceptionally well in this book, but were still often unnecessary. I think I’ve already mentioned my feelings on parenthesis in fiction earlier in this post.

At the same time, the characters were well developed and really liked the magic system and the concept of the Humdrum.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6)Short Synopsis: Book six in the Mistborn series.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. The characters’ had great synergy, and there were several twists that I didn’t see coming. This is my first five star read of 2016.

Rating: five blue jays

Writing

I didn’t accomplish much in the way of writing last month. Hence the large number of books I had time to read, but I’d like to change that in February. I haven’t written much since the end of November, and the long break has given me a better appreciation of how much I enjoy writing.

This month I plan to either begin rewriting part two of my high fantasy work in progress, or start on the first draft of one of the many ideas I’ve been longing to write.