ARC Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

30134847Title: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2)
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Rating

Synopsis: In the gripping sequel to Sleeping Giants, which was hailed by Pierce Brown as “a luminous conspiracy yarn . . . reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z,” Sylvain Neuvel’s innovative series about human-alien contact takes another giant step forward.

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

Please note that I received a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Waking Gods was definitely one of my most anticipated sequels after reading Sleeping Giants (you can read my review for it here) last year. And I’m going to straight up honest with you, I think Waking Gods blew Sleeping Giants out of the water. It was intense and face-paced and you never knew what was about to happen. I’m not sure if this has to due with the fact that this book is not young adult or what, but I felt like Waking Gods pushed past limits I don’t see often in the books I’m reading. I loved every minute of it and I really really hope there is another book after this one because if there isn’t that would just be mean.

I think the characters were way more developed in this book, or maybe I just felt like I knew them better. And I know better than to get attached to characters, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way so many times and yet I became so attached and invested in these characters. I wanted to see them succeed, I wanted to see them help humanity thrive again and it was probably one of my favourite sets of character developments to watch. Of course, Sylvain Neuvel knew exactly every single heartstrings to pull and even still, he left me wanting so much more from these characters and their battle to save humanity. The one character that I really loved reading was Rose, I think her character has, by far, one of the best developments in a book that I’ve read in a really long time. I honestly can’t wait to see where he takes Rose’s character from her.

Now, I just want to briefly talk about the aliens of these books. We really don’t know much about them and that obviously adds an air of mystery around them. And its killing me, I need to know more, I want to know everything I can about them. I really hope we get some good aliens and not the disappointment that was The 5th Wave.

But anyways, I digress. From the very first page I was on the edge of my seat, the plot never stalled out or had long mind numbing scenes. The action was always just the right amount and they kept you on your toes guessing as to the events to come. And let me tell you, I was not prepared for many of those events. I just wasn’t. And I’m still not over some of them. But thats what makes a really good book for me and I hope it does for you too.

Waking Gods is everything I want in a book. There was no huge focus on relationships, there was action and epic fights, strong female main characters, apocalypse events and of course, aliens! And let’s not forget the books awesome format, written in interviews and file dossiers!

May the Fourth Be With You, an anniversary post. 

Just thought I’d write a little post about the 4th of May. Now most know it as Star Wars Day which is awesome (even though I’ve only seen the original three and Phantom Menace when it came out in theatres). So I’m definitely not up and up on all the new movies. I know, I know, but let’s be honest here, I’m terrible at watching movies. I’ve maybe watched a handful of movies all year (my favourite was The Arrival!). But I’m sure one day I’ll catch up on them, for now though I’ll stick with my love for the four that I’ve actually seen.

13255917_10154914701187796_8626199267656120252_nThe real reason for my post today is that Star Wars Day is also the day I got married (at the ripe ol’ age of 22). Our wedding was really small, there were only five people including us. But it was pretty perfect. We got married in this outdoor chapel on a beautiful sunny day on a maple syrup farm (along Route 66 lol). We actually did one of our photos in spirit of Star Wars Day. Which is actually pretty hilarious because my Wife has never seen a single Star Wars movie in her life.

Now, if you don’t know, I’m a Canadian whose been living in the US off and on for the last couple years. So we actually rushed a little bit to get married. Marriage Equality wasn’t even fully legalized when we decided to get married. Luckily enough, the county beside ours was accepting all marriages a month before it fully went legal in June. We had wanted to wait but I had to go back home in Canada at the end of May. Which, let me tell you, being separated less than two weeks after being married was harder than the first three years there we spent as a long distance relationship.

When I went home we both had no idea when I would be able to return. That was one of the hardest times of my life. So I went home to Canada and worked my ass off the entire summer. By the end of August though I was able to come back and I’ve luckily been here ever since.

And so, in these three years of marriage we were separated for the first three months, we bought our first house and slowly filled it with 7 wonderful animals who are definitely my babies, aha.

I can’t even begin to tell you what she means to me. We originally started dating in 2011 and we’ve been through a crazy amount of stuff. But I can tell you that we are stronger now than we’ve ever been. And I’m grateful every day that we’ve been fortunate enough to build this life together.

Anyways, I know this post is really but if you’re reading this I hope you had a great day and may the fourth be with you!

Review: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

30269126Title: Empress of a Thousand Skies
Author: Rhoda Belleza
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Rating: 3.5-3.75 stars???

SynopsisCROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA’AN WANTS VENGEANCE.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

 

Review: Empress of a Thousand Skies was probably one of the few books that I struggled with trying to rate. Maybe because I really don’t know how I felt about the book in general. Did I like the book? definitely. But did I love it? Meh. It took my five days to read Empress of a Thousand Skies, which is very unusual for me. I wanted to keep reading it and yet it was easy to put down at the same time. I don’t know how to explain it. It was a good book! But that’s it, just good.

(Can I just mention quickly that I really do love this cover. More covers like this please!)

Lately, I’ve been really into space and planets and aliens when it comes to books. And let it be said that the world building was something I really liked. Then again most things that take place in space are a-okay with me. Though, sometimes I feel like space and planet descriptions can be a little rough and not good with imagery, but Empress of a Thousand Skies was perfect when it came to that. I could see the planets in my head very easily which was really nice.

Throughout the book we get two POVs and I have to say, one I liked and one I didn’t. I would trudge through Rhiannon’s chapters whereas with Alyosha’s I couldn’t wait to get to and dig in. Rhiannon was your typical YA princess MC that left me struggling to keep interested in her POV.

  • Lost her family
  • only surviving member
  • someone is trying to kill her so she doesn’t take the throne
  • a mysterious stranger from a foreign planet arrives just in time to help her
  • wants vengeance

I could just keep checking off all the little boxes.

I was a little worried at first about the mysterious stranger, she called him insufferable. And instantly, I thought he was going to go from insufferable to the love of her life by the end of the book. But thankfully that wasn’t the case. Rhiannon’s mantra through out the book was “Honor, Bravery, Loyalty” and I just don’t think she lived up to that at all. I wont go more into detail about that as to avoid spoilers but let’s just say that Rhiannon’s character fell super flat for me and that was just disappointing.

Now in Alyosha’s POV I just kept wanting to know more about his character and storyline. He felt genuine and more real than Rhiannon. Maybe because I liked that his storyline, his journey more. It just felt like Alyosha’s struggle was worth more. Though, I’m super interested to see Alyosha and Rhiannon cross paths. Surprisingly, it didn’t really happen in this book so I hope that means we are getting a good build up to the two storylines connecting in the next one.

What I thought was an interesting theme though between the two storylines that in their universe everything is record, every moment is uploaded for you to rewatch any time. When that’s taken away from both characters they both struggle with ‘organic memories’. And I think it shows that our minds can easily play tricks on us, we can replay the same moments over and over and over again in our heads but we could have completely distorted it without even realizing. Maybe the things we remember aren’t exactly what they seem and that was something I liked a lot in this book.

I have to be honest here, what really sold the book for me, what really pushed me to want to read the next was the epilogue. I kind of knew what was coming but the epilogue gave me so much hope for the next book. So if you are thinking about reading this or just pushing through, and you are a sucker for a good ending like I am, definitely pick this up and give it a chance. It might surprise you!

BookishNight is now duskblooms!

Well, we all knew it was coming. I’ve really been wanting to change up my blog again. It actually took me awhile this time around to come up with something that I really liked. Hopefully everyone else likes it as well! Not only did I get a name change for the blog, I did a whole new design and layout as well. Nothing fancy but a good change of pace for me. Which I think definitely helps get me more interested in posting again. Which I actually have posts scheduled and drafted and ready to go. So let’s hope that I can keep up with this again. Though, I will say that I might try and start posting more personal/life posts as well. I’m definitely not much of a sharer online but it might be nice to have a place to just unload my mind every now and again. So if you’re out there reading this and you’re still with me after all my inactivity thanks for still being here! I really do hope that I can get this blog up and going again.

Keep your eyes out for a bunch of reviews that I’ve got scheduled I’m excited to get some opinions on some of the books I’ve been reading. And please, let me know what you think of the blog changes and such. You know I love hearing from everyone!

Review: Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

29560003Title: Island of Exiles (The Ryogan Chronicles #1)
Author: Erica Cameron
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
Publication Date: February 14th 2017
Rating

SynopsisIn this diverse, gritty survival fantasy, a girl warrior turns against her island clan to find the brother they claim died, uncovering secrets. Perfect for fans of Graceling and Snow Like Ashes.

In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.

On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.

But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.

To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.

Review: How do I even begin talking about this book? Straight to the point, I really freaking loved it. It’s all the things I could want in a book. Survivalism, fantasy, strong female main character, diversity in all the characters, and betrayal?!? Island of Exiles delivers on so many levels, I don’t understand how more people aren’t talking about it. All the time in the book community people are begging for good diversity, and let me tell you, this book has it.

Let’s start with the entire third gender in this book. With their own pronouns, their neither male nor female called ebets. There’s also no segregation by gender amongst the caste system. (It’s completely segregated by their magical abilities). I was ecstatic when I realized that there was a third gender. As someone who is non-binary it’s really amazing to see any type of gender identity that isn’t male or female.

There were also multiple sexual orientations; the main character had relations with multiple genders. A prominent side character who is asexual and an ebet!

“I mean, you’re more my preference than he is, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see the appeal. No need to be ashamed. Sex is perfectly natural. Everyone does it.” “Almost everyone,” Etaro corrects, cheeks flushing darker. Ey once told me that ey couldn’t see the appeal of rolling around naked with someone. When most of eir yearmates started experimenting, ey declared emself ushimo.”

And it was also hinted that another side character was in a poly type relationship.

“Are you two starting something again? I thought he had a thing now with the guy and the ebet quartered in the Southeastern Zon, the nyshin-pa who— Bellows. What were their names?”

All of it was so causal, none of the plot was effected at all by any of this. Which is a beautiful thing. Something I want to mention is that in their belief system there is a special bond called sumai and this is how it’s described:

“Siblings, friends, or ushimo—those who love deeply but never want sex—it doesn’t matter. The desire to lie with someone has nothing to do with the sumai; the only thing that matters for the bond is trust, abiding love, and the desire to keep them close through this life and the next.”

How beautiful is that? To have a bond beyond the social constructs of relationships, is amazing.

Now, I really loved the main character. She is everything I love in a strong female main character. Kickass with weapons and magic. Her struggles though, some of them were so similar to mine that I really just connected with her. And watching her grow from those struggles was something that I could read over and over again. Now, there wasn’t any insta-love but there was an obvious connection (to the reader, not necessarily right away to the mc). I really didn’t mind that it took almost the whole book for that connection to really become a thing. It felt very realistic and that’s something I can appreciate.

OH, can we talk about how the main character had her PERIOD and there was a whole little bit about it???

“I shuck the loincloth and breast band I slept in, and stare at the spots of blood on the cloth. What? Did I injure myself or— Oh. Right. Of course. Muttering curses to myself, I toss my clothing in a pile to bring to the yonin in charge of laundry. With everything that has happened the last week, I lost track of the moon cycle and ignored the minor cramps. I should’ve been expecting my gensu. It’s late, but that can happen.”

“The process of tying the extra layer into my loincloth and getting dressed takes a few minutes, and it’s something I’ll have to deal with several times a day for the next few days.”

With a (male) side character involved who didn’t blink an eye at it.

“He doesn’t protest when I need a longer break to run to the washroom attached to the training yard to deal with the necessary inconveniences of the gensu.”

There was nothing squeamish about it, there was no mocking, it was just fact. A female having her period in a fantasy world was simply a. fact. Yes yes yes yes yes yes. Thank you. It’s about time that this was talked about so casually in Young Adult. Especially in Young Adult Fantasy. So kudos to the author for that.

I also really enjoyed just the overall world building and the setting of the book. The author painted a great picture and it was pretty easy to grasp the concepts of the plot. I was intrigued and surprised by the plot twists and I loved being so easily drawn into this book.

So if you like magic, fantasy, betrayal and diversity, I definitely recommend this book!