Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)
By ~ Sylvain Neuvel

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Sleeping Giants has been on my to read list for a few years.  All three books in this trilogy have now been released, and boy am I sure glad that I waited because once I finished Sleeping Giants, I immediately downloaded Waking Gods, the second book in the Themis Files series.  It was way past my bedtime, but I didn’t care.

Synopsis ~ When Rose Franklin was a young girl, she discovered, by accident, a giant metal hand that was buried beneath the earth for thousands of years.  Through various circumstances, twenty years later, Rose finds herself tasked with the scientific study and research of the hand, and the discovery of the body the hand belongs to.

Sleeping Giants kept me entertained throughout, from the opening lines right to the end.  It reads as journal entries and interviews to tell the story. I found it to be a unique and interesting way to tell the narrative.  Somehow this form of telling the story, made me feel as if I really got to know the main characters and I am now invested in them and their continuing story.

This book had one of my favourite things going for it that I always hope for when reading.  The desire to read it ALL THE TIME and not put it down. I found myself a number of times continuing to read after getting off the bus, with the book up in my nose while walking down the sidewalk.  My favourite books are the ones I can't put down.

A Vision of Fire

A Vision of Fire (The Earthend Saga #1)
Authors ~ Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin

As probably most people who will have randomly come across A Vision of Fire, I picked up this book because of Gillian Anderson.

If you've never heard of Gillian Anderson before, well you are definitely not a child of the 90's with a nostalgia of The X-Files

I live in Vancouver, BC, where The X-Files was originally filmed and I distinctly remember watching the show with my mom and on nights when I was babysitting.   So yes, an old love of Dana Scully and Fox Mulder is what propelled me to read this book.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Renowned child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara is a single mom trying to juggle her job, her son, and a lackluster dating life. Her world is suddenly upturned when Maanik, the daughter of India’s ambassador to the United Nations, starts speaking in tongues and having violent visions. Caitlin is sure that her fits have something to do with the recent assassination attempt on her father—a shooting that has escalated nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan to dangerous levels—but when teenagers around the world start having similar outbursts, Caitlin begins to think that there’s a more sinister force at work. 

In Haiti, a student claws at her throat, drowning on dry land. In Iran, a boy suddenly and inexplicably sets himself on fire. Animals, too, are acting irrationally, from rats in New York City to birds in South America to ordinary house pets. With Asia on the cusp of nuclear war, Caitlin must race across the globe to uncover the mystical links among these seemingly unrelated incidents in order to save her patient—and perhaps the world.

A Vision of Fire isn't a great book, but neither is it a bad book.  It's mediocre in everything it does.  From combining Norse, Voodoo and Aliens, to Caitlin O'Hara having a deaf son who provides her with the ability to understand unspoken languages, A Vision of Fire tries to do to much and doesn't really succeed with anything.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading A Vision of Fire, I did, but it isn't a great book, it's just middle of the road, something to read in-between other more exciting books.  

 

Contact

Contact
Author ~ Carl Sagan

Contact is one of those books that has been on my TRL for years and years, but also one of those books that I have put off reading for ages.    

A Signal has been detected in the vicinity of the star Vega.  It is intelligent life?  Is it god?  We don't know, but with this signal, the course of human history is forever changed.

For a science fiction book written by scientist, Carl Sagan, I was surprised that Contact explored more than just the possibility of life in other parts of the universe.  Contact explored how that life would effect the religious communities of Earth.  

I don't know why this surprised me, I guess I was expecting a fun novel about the possibility of life outer-space, instead I read a novel that used the fictional story as a way to deliver questions about other live and how if would impact religions here on earth.  It really felt that the characters in the story were the vehicle that Carl Sagan was driving to explore his own thoughts about religion.

I enjoyed reading Contact, it just wasn't the space adventure alien story I was expecting to read.  

 

 

Annihilation

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Annihilation (Southern Reach #1)
Author ~ Jeff Vandermeer

In the upcoming weeks and months you are going to start reading and hearing more about Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer because it has been turned into a movie, starting Natalie Portman.  I actually had no idea that it was turning into a movie.  I found out about this book from a friend and it sounded interesting when I read the synopsis.  It was only when I was about half-way through the book that the teaser trailer for Annihilation dropped.

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world by a gigantic invisible barrier.  Inside Area X is a vast wilderness of pristine condition. 

Since the time Area X was cut off from the rest of civilization, expeditions have been sent to explore the area.  They have not gone well.  Mass suicide, attacks from strange creatures, gunfire as members turned on one another, some explorers returning as shells of their former selves, riddled with cancer.

Four women, with no names, only referring to themselves as their job descriptions; anthropologist; surveyor; psychologist; biologist, make up the twelfth expedition.

The secrets they uncover will change them and everything they know.

For the most part, I found Annihilation an interesting yet boring read.  Nothing happens, yet a lot happens, just very slowly and only to past characters not really in this story.  The narrator of the story is "The Biologist", and she spends a lot of her time in her head, thinking.  Thinking about her past, thinking about her trip to Area X, thinking about what's happening there...always thinking.  

This is one of those books that make you ask a whole bunch of questions about who, what, where, when, why, but it never actually answer's anything.  I have a feeling that this might be one of those few times where the movie will be better than the book (my most favourite example of this is Forrest Gump.  The movie was WAY better than the book).

I'm interested in watching the movie when it does come out and compare the two of them to each other.  I have no plans on reading the two follow-up books to this series, maybe they would answer the questions that Annihilation made me ask, but I'm not driven to find out those answeres, at least, not at this time.

 

All Systems Red

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All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1)
Author ~ Martha Wells

As I was reading All Systems Red by Martha Wells, I can honestly say that I didn't realize what this book was actually called and I kept referring to it as "the murderbot book".  This was a quick read, written up as a novella, that I very much enjoyed.

In a future, taken over by corporations, a group of scientists are exploring a new world.  The corporations provide security in the form of a company security droid.  

While on a mission, one particular security droid has become self-aware and has hacked it's own governor module.  Referring to itself as "Murderbot" all this unit wants to do is be left alone to watch the soap opera; Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon.

I really loved the Murderbot.  While there was no specific gender to the Murderbot, I definitely thought of it as female when I was reading the story.  Full of cynicism and quick wit, Murderbot was a story that I was sad to see end so quickly.  All the Murderbot wanted to do was to be left alone, not interacting with humans and watch soaps.  I think everyone can relate to Murderbot and just sometimes wanting to be left alone, and not worry about working.

Honestly my only real complaint about All Systems Red is that the story was written as a novella.  Usually not my favourite things because I find that the story ends so quickly, or just as you are getting into the characters and situations the story is over.  Well's did a fantastic job writing All Systems Red though.  It is a complete story, and I wasn't left feeling that I was missing something.  I just wanted to read more about Murderbot and it's story.  Thankfully there is a sequel (Artificial Condition) coming out May 2018, which you can pre-order on Amazon.

It's been a while

It has been a busy few weeks.  Since it was summer, I was in and out of town, filling out a huge pile of paperwork and generally complacent in updating this site.  I now finally have a little bit of time, and energy to let you kind readers know what I've been reading lately.

I haven't read a lot in the last month and I've been feeling kind of slovenly because of this.  The last few weeks found me watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  I made it all the way to season 3 before my obsession of watching the show waned a bit.  So in the meantime I only found time to read four books.  

  • Artemis by Andy Weir (ARC provided by Netgalley)
  • Paradox Bound by Peter Clines (ARC provided by Netgalley)
  • When you Disappeared by John Marrs (ARC provided by Netgalley)
  • Rituals (Cainsville, #5) by Kelley Armstrong
  • The Ghost Line by Andrew Neil Gray

Reviews!

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Artemis
Author ~ Andy Weir

Artemis is the newest novel by Andy Weir (The Martian).  To say I was excited about Artemis is an understatement.  The Martian was a great novel, with lots of humour, that I really enjoyed so I had high hopes for Artemis.  Unfortunately, I didn't like it.

Jazz Bashara lives on the first and only city on the moon.  As a way of making ends meat, she smuggles in the occasional bit of contraband.  When Jazz receives a request that is too lucrative to turn down, she stumbles into a conspiracy to overtake control of Artemis, the moon city.

Artemis was well written, and I could tell that a lot of time and research went into the science side of the book, and overall the story wasn't that bad, but the main character, Jazz Bashara, ugh.  I just found that she had zero redeeming qualities.  It wasn't until the very very end of the book where you actually found out her motivations.  

Aside from my dislike of Jazz, the overall story was interesting and entertaining.  This is nothing like The Martian though, so don't start reading this novel thinking that you are going to find a similar story.  

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Paradox Bound
Author ~ Peter Clines

I had a hard time getting in Peter Clines most recent novel, Paradox Bound.  

Time Travelling through American History, Eli and Harry are on the search for the "American Dream".  In this case, the "American Dream" is a literal object, created by the founding fathers of the United States of America and lost for the past sixty years.

I usually like Peter Clines's novels, but I think with the current state of the USA, constantly being in the news, it's dotard leader and now on the brink of war with North Korea, this was just a bit to much America for me.  I did enjoy that this is set in the same world as two of Clines other novels, 14 and The Fold, but unless you read those two novel, the one sentence that lets you know this is the same world, would be glossed right over by other readers.

I look forward to Peter Clines's next novel, but this one just wasn't for me.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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When you Disappeared
Author ~ John Marrs

After a couple of dud books I was reluctant to start yet another ARC from Netgalley, however, When you Disappeared by John Marrs hooked me immediately.

Catherine wakes up one morning, her husband, Simon, is gone.  Thinking he was out for a run then off to work, Catherine didn't worry about him until his colleague called her looking for him.  

Meanwhile, Simon is alive and well, having left his family because he knows the truth about the life they had lead.  Alive and thriving, Simon is doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of his past.

Twenty-Five year later, when Simon shows up on her doorstep, Catherine is finally introduce to the man Simon is, and she wished she never met him.

When I finished this book, my first thought was just, wow.  I really enjoyed this book, which was great since the last two books I had read were not my favourites (Artemis & Paradox Bound).

I also found the way it was written well done.  The story took place in "the now" with past memories of Catherine and Simon being told to each other.  It was a very effective piece of storytelling that I throughly enjoyed.  

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Rituals (Cainsville, #5)
Author ~ Kelley Armstrong

My popcorn novel.  I've been really enjoying the Cainsville series from Kelley Armstrong.  If you haven't read the first 4 in this series, don't bother reading Rituals, as you will be totally lost, and instead start at the beginning.

Olivia Jones must make a choice between two rival supernatural forces.  

I've enjoyed all of the books in this series and Rituals was no exception.  I do wonder how many books Kelley Armstrong has planed for this series because as I was reading Rituals, I could feel the story start to wind is way up.  It is by no means complete and there are still a lot on unanswered questions, and new questions that have appeared, but I suspect there will only be 2 or 3 more books in this series.

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The Ghost Line
Author ~ Andrew Neil Gray

I purchased this book on recommendation email from Amazon.  The Ghost Line was a surprising read, and quite quick.  It only took me a few hours to read it, but it was an intriguing story.  

The Martian Queen is a mothballed ship when Saga and Michel are hired to hack into it and changes it's course, effectively destroying the ship and openings up the shipping lane it has been occupying. 

Expecting an easy payday, Saga and Michel end up stranded aboard the Martian Queen, fighting to maintain their humanity and find their way back home.

The Ghost Line would make an excellent movie.  The story is pretty simple but also interesting.  It has a little bit of mystery, that isn't easily discoverable until it is revealed to you by the author.  I enjoyed reading this one.


I feel that this particular post is a little lacking in depth, but I also wanted to get something out to the readers of this website.  It's been a while since I've posted anything, and I kind of figured something was better than nothing.  If you have any questions or comments about the books I've briefly reviewed here, please let me know.  I'd be happy to answer them or pleased to read your comment.

Review ~ The Memory Agent

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The Memory Agent
Author ~ Matthew B. J. Delaney

The first thing I thought to myself as I read the last sentence of this story was, "that was a good book".  The Memory Agent is a fantastic roller-coaster ride of suspense and science fiction and I was entertained the entire time I was reading it, quickly turning pages to find out what happens.  

Roger Parker is a professional prison breaker, skilled at breaking minds out of the virtual reality rehabilitation prison where convicted criminals serve their time. This time Parker and his team head into a virtual reality set in 1950's Manhattan.  With strange visions, mysterious identities and anti-virus programs chasing Parker and his team through this dream reality state, The Memory Agent will keep you guessing right till the very end.

I found the very beginning of The Memory Agent a little confusing as the story starts out in Egypt in 1933.  A group of people are on an archaeological dig and they just discovered the impossible.  As they investigate they are attached by the "Brotherhood of Anubis" and must seek the protection of the dig site.  

To say I was confused with what was happening is an understatement.  This was nothing like what the book-jacket described, and there a legitimate moment where I was seriously contemplated that maybe I received the wrong book.   I figured that eventually the story would start to be more like the description on the book-jacket, and sure enough it was.  Slowly the puzzle pieces start to come together and make some sort of mind-bending sense.  There were also several suspenseful moments when a "monster" is chasing the characters and I still remember my heart beating away in my chest while reading these scenes.   

I enjoyed reading this book, it was sort of like a combination of Inception meet The Matrix meets The Adjustment Bureau.  I enjoyed all three of these movies immensely because of the mind-trippiness of them.  The Memory Agent is right up there with it's mind-trippiness and I was easily entertained as I was reading it, finding it hard to put down at times.  If you like mind-tripy books, you will definitely enjoy reading this story.  The Memory Agent is available on Amazon July 18, 2017.

4 Penguins

I received an free ARC of The Breakdown from 47North via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review ~ Axis (Spin Saga #2)

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Axis (Spin Saga #2)
Author ~ Robert Charles Wilson

STOP!!!  SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN'T READ SPIN (SPIN SAGA #1) YET.  Do yourself a favour, read Spin first then come back to this review.

Axis is the mostly direct sequel to Spin.  Thirty years after the events in Spin, Axis finds us on another world, Equartoria.  Linked to Earth by a massive arch in the middle of the Indian Ocean, placed there by The Hypotheticals, humans have started to pilfer this new world of it's natural resources, sending them back to Earth. 

Lise Adams is in Equartoria, investigating the disappearance of her father fifteen years prior when she stumbles across the photograph and an old woman who has loose connections to her former lover, Turk Findley.  Turk agrees to help Lise connect with the woman in the photograph when suddenly ash is falling from the sky.  The ash turns out to be old pieces of the Hypotheticals.  Are they seeding this planet with parts of themselves for some nefarious means or has some massive accident happened in space and the Hypotheticals are dying?

I called Axis a mostly direct sequel because this story does not revolve around the main protagonists from Spin (Tyler Dupree and Jason & Diane Lawton) but rather introduces us to two new protagonists, Lise Adams and Turk Findley.  As I started out reading Axis, I have to admit that I was disappointed that the sequel wasn't going to feature the Tyler, Jason & Diane, I really wanted to find out what happened when they crossed the Arch.  It didn't take me that long to get over the disappointment though as Axis picks up almost right away with the mystery of the falling ash.  While Axis doesn't have the same scope as Spin did, taking place over a few days versus (technically) millions of years, it's still an interesting story.    I haven't read the third book in the series yet (Vortex) but at this point Axis almost seems like it was written to be a bridge between two bigger novels...I hope that does turns out to be the case.  

The thing I liked the most about Axis was that we started to gain a little bit of an understanding about who/what the Hypotheticals are.  The part I didn't like about Axis, we only gained a little understanding about who/what the Hypotheticals are.  While I can't say that I enjoyed Axis quite as much as Spin, it was still an entertaining read.

4 Penguins

Ack! Apologies are in order

Hello everyone!  I wanted to send out a quick apology that my next book review is taking so long.  I'm actually almost finished writing it and I'll have it posted shortly.  

The reason for the delay is that I found myself getting a little overwhelmed trying to write a long and detailed review of the books I've been reading.  It it started feeling like is was a chore instead of something fun to do and as I read more and more books, the thought of writing long reviews of them became something I was dreading.  I didn't want to give up doing the book reviews, but I also needed to figure out a way to continue to enjoy reading and not dread writing the review.  

It took me some time to finally decided what I wanted to do with the book review section of my website.  In the end, I came up with the idea to write the reviews in a different manner than I had started out with, the biggest change is that I'm not going to worry about how long they are.  Some books I just really don't have anything to say and others I have a tone of stuff to say and those books that I didn't really have anything to say about them were incredibly stressful to write "enough" words about them.  So from this point forward some of my reviews might be short and to the point while others will be more detailed.  I'm going to let the writing just come and not pressure myself to reach a specific word count.  I feel that this will be a good compromise between continuing with the reviews and not overwhelming myself with trying to become a wordsmith.

You may be wondering what I have read in the meantime since my last review. Well I've read twelve and a half books between May and June.  Eleven of those books you'll find  have a short review in the post, with a fuller review of the book Pandemic (The Extinction Files #1) by A.G. Riddle as my next "full length" review.  I hope you enjoy reading the mini-reviews.

Mini Book Reviews

#1) The Seventh Plague by James Rollins
A pandemic style story with ancient Egyptian origins.  The member of Sigma Force have to discover who is trying to unleash a plague straight out of the bible.  This isn't one of my favourite of the Sigma Force stories.  I've been finding that each story seems to be getting a little bit more and more ridiculous as  this series has been going on.  I also found that The Seventh Plague seemed to be action scene followed by action scene without a ton of character development.  This being the twelve book in the series (with a bunch of novellas too) I wonder if James Rollins is getting tired of Sigma Force.  I hope the next book is better.

2.5 Penguins

#2) Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez (translated from French into English by Mark Polizzotti)
The North American debut of Frank Thilliez will provide you with one of the best murder mysteries I've read.  The story starts off with an old-film connoisseur who ends up blind after viewing his most recent acquisition, an odd film from the 50's.  While his ex-girlfriend investigates his blindness, she discovers that the film is connected with 5 bodies that were recently discovered in the woods.  This murder-thriller is filled with shocking plot twist that will have you travelling from France to Canada, Egypt and Rwanda and keep you guessing right until the very last sentence and beyond.

5 Penguins

#3) Bred to Kill By Franck Thilliez (translated from French into English by Mark Polizzotti)
The sequel to Syndrome E.  While investigating the brutal animal attack of a graduate student, it is discovered that she was actually murdered.  The investigation leads us into the Alps only to discover that a thirty-thousand-year-old virus has been discovered and their are plans to unleash it on the world.    

Bred to Kill picks up about a year after the events in Syndrome E.  While the murder mystery of Bred to Kill isn't quite as gripping as Syndrome E, the personal development of the police detectives more than makes up for it.  I wish that I could either read French or that more of Franck Thilliez's novels were translated into English.

5 Penguins

#4) American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The main idea behind American Gods are that gods exist because people believe in them.  American Gods centres around Shadow and his work as an errand boy for Mr. Wednesday.  

A cross between fantasy, fiction and ancient mythology American Gods is Neil Gaiman at his best.  It's a real shame that I just don't really like Neil Gaiman.  I read the book because the show was coming out and I wanted to see what it was all about.  For 3/4 of the book, I found it just barely interesting enough to keep reading and it wasn't until the last quarter of the book that I was final hooked.  This book took be 12 days to read, which may not seem like a lot to some, but when I finish a book on average every 2-3 days, this was an extremely long time for me.

1 Penguins

#5) Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
This short novella is a science fiction detective mystery.   At some undetermined point in the future we gain the ability to produce a "snapshot" of the day.  An exact recreation of any given date.  Detectives use the snapshot to help solves murders.  

I really enjoyed this novella.  The idea of a snapshot was quite creative.  I'm not a huge fan of short stories or novellas because just as I'm really getting into them, the story is over.  I felt that Brandon Sanderson did an excellent job of balancing the shortness of Snapshot while still providing the details needed for me to enjoy.

4 Penguins

#6) The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
Some point in the future, after a great tribulation, earths humanity only has a dim relocation of humanity before, a small village roots out "deviations" and destroys them as abominations.  The Cyrysalids focuses on one boy, who hides that he his a deviation.  

I enjoyed reading The Chrysalids.  This is one of the books that tends to be on the high-school syllabus, but I always had the English teacher that taught the "other" books on the syllabus, so I never read this in school.  I was entertained throughout, my only complaint being that the ending of the book seemed a little rushed and I would like to have know what happens afterwards.

4 Penguins

#7) Thrawn by Timothy Zhan
Grand Admiral Thrawn was first introduced in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire Series.  Now considered to be Legends and no longer cannon in the Star Wars world, many believe that it was this series and it's captivating antagonist that brought Star Wars back into mainstream and paved the way for the re-releases and prequels, and now an entire world of movies.  Disney was very smart to bring Grand Admiral Thrawn into Cannon and they were even smarter to have Timothy Zhan write Thrawn's history.  I grew up reading the now legends Star Wars novels, and while a lot of them were and are quite terrible stories, there were also a ton of them that were quite amazing, including the Heir to the Empire Series.  Thrawn is the first book in the new canon that I have really enjoyed.  It reintroduces us to the blue skinned, red eyed Chiss commander and documents his rise through the Galactic Empire to become a Grand Admiral.  If you've only ever seen the movies, you can easily read Thrawn and be captivated by this master of military strategy.  

4 Penguins

#8) Calamity (Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson
The third and final book in the Reckoners Series by Brandon Sanderson, and my favourite of the three.  The professor has gone rogue and it's up to David and the rest of the Reckoners to save him from himself.  These stories are about the corruption that the people who've gained special powers have to face.  

I found the first two books in this series filled with a lot of teen angst, and if put me off reading the final book for a long time.  The teen angst is gone from this book which I was very relieved.  Overall, it's a good wrap-up for the series, although the ending and final climatic event felt a little rushed.

3.5 Penguins

#9) Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
During the late 1800's while the gold-rush towns are popping up everywhere, two rival palaeontologists, Marsh and Cope, are on the hunt for dinosaur fossils.  William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than common-sense makes a bet with one of his school-mates and finds himself in the West assisting on a dig.  When he is abandoned by the paranoid Marsh he joins forces with Cope and discovers a grave of huge historical significance.   With this find comes grave danger and his life is on the line.  

This is Michael Crichton at best, blending history, science and fiction flawlessly.  The palaeontologists, Marsh and Cope, are based of real people and the history of finding dinosaur fossils in the West are loosely true.  William Johnson is the fictional made up character that allows Crichton to blend history and fiction together in a cohesive story.  

4 Penguins

#10) Spin (Spin Saga #1) by Robert Charles Wilson
When the stars disappear, replaced by a black membrane, three friends will be forever changed once it's discovered that the black membrane has placed the Earth in a temporal stasis.  

With a cast of well developed characters, I was drawn into the story right from the get-go.  The narration takes place in both the past and present.  The present day narration takes some time before you understand what's going on and only until the past narration catches up do you fully get the scope of the story.  I very much enjoyed this science fiction story and at the time of writing this review I'm currently reading the second one in the series, Aixs.

5 Penguins

#11) Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn
Human Martian, Polly Newton, is sent to her with her brother Charles to the pretentious Galileo Academy on Earth.  While there Polly and Charles struggle to fit in with the privilege Earth teenagers as strange accidents start to happen.  

I really wanted to enjoy this story as it seemed very intriguing, a fish out of water type story, but I didn't.  I hated the main character, Polly.  I found her to be a whiny person filled with teen angst and never learned from her mistakes.  The story itself was well written though, which is why I was able to finish it and not give up half way through.

2 Penguins

Review ~ Company Town

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Company Town
Author: Madeline Ashby

In Madeline Ashby’s ambitious cyberpunk novel, Company Town, we see a futuristic Canada, where living on an oil-rig off the coast of Newfoundland, is part of everyday life. Entire towns have been created on these gigantic oil-rigs and the people who live there either work the oil-rig or support it in some way.  Augmenting yourself with the newest bio-tech is just one way to pass the times, the other major pass-time is securing the services sex-workers, who are now unionized and come with bodyguard protection.

When the company town of New Arcadia is purchased by the Lynch Family, Hwa, former bodyguard to the sex-workers, is manipulated into becoming the personal bodyguard and trainer for the youngest Lynch member, Joel.  As the heir to the Lynch Company, Joel’s protection is paramount to the prosperity of New Arcadia, and now his protection falls to Hwa, one of the last un-augmented humans in the world.

When a friend and former sex-worker of Hwa’s turns up dead, and an attempted murder on her own life, Hwa realizes there is more to the Lynch family than meets they eye.  As she delves into the murder, she discovers that more than one friend has ended up dead.  Who is this killer that seems to be extracting revenge on sex-workers?  Is she also a target of the killers ire? Is the Lynch family somehow involved with this killer?  As Hwa gets more involved, she discovers that time isn’t linear and that the killer can be anywhere.

The pacing of Company Town is a little odd, with what feels like entire sections of the story left out.  For example as a bodyguard, Hwa gets knocked around a bit during her duties.  There are multiple scenes where she loses consciousness at the end of a chapter, with the next chapter starting out a few days later with Hwa in another location and talking with different characters, and no mention of how she survived the last encounter.  The entire third act of the story was also incredibly rushed.  Ashby spent a great deal of time during the first and second acts setting up the world and her characters, and just as the big boss-battle happens, Hwa gets knocked about again and loses consciousness.  When next we see Hws, the battle is long over, months having passed.  No mention what happened or how she survived.  It seemed like Ashby was afraid of running out of room on the page to write, so just skipped over parts to advance to the final chapter, leaving out some stuff in the middle.

Up until the ending of the story I was really enjoying the world, the tech, and the characters that Ashby created.  The third act is the downfall of this novel, leaving you questioning what really happened during the final boss battle.  Company Town is an enjoyable read as far as plot and world building are concerned, but the pacing leaves little to be desired.

2 Penguins

Review ~ The Wizard Killer: Season 1

The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1
Author: Adam Dreece

Prepare yourself for an adventure in this post-apocalyptic futuristic fantasy story penned by indie author Adam Dreece. The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1 is written in an episodic, serialized style that makes this a quick and engaging read.  Each chapter is a little adventure in of itself, will all the chapters making up the overall story arc.  From the opening sentence when the protagonist wakes up in the forest, discovering that he has been impaled with a sword to the final passage where...well I won’t tell you since that would be a spoiler, needless to say I was thoroughly engaged.   

The protagonist, whose name you never do find out in Season 1, wakes up with a cloudy memory of who he is and what has happened to him.  As he sets out to find some semblance of civilization among all the desolation of this world, memories start to come back to him.  When he encounters a commune of people that have a hidden agenda the action really starts to take off.

My only real complaint with The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1 is that I can’t help but be disappointed that this story is written in an episodic serialized style.  This world that Decree has created is so fascinating.  I was so intrigued that I really wanted a longer story with more character and world development, and where I wasn’t left with quite so many questions.  What happened to this world?  Who is this protagonist?  What kind of powers does he have?  Where is everyone? Magic guns powered by mana?  Levitating Cars that no longer run?  So many questions and definitely not enough answers.  Even with my complaint of The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1 not being long enough I can’t wait to read Season 2.  Hopefully my questions will be answered, while also providing new questions to ask.  Think of The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1 as a graphic novel without the pictures and you will thoroughly enjoy it too.

4 Penguins

 

Review ~ The Frozen Sky

The Frozen Sky (Frozen Sky #1)
Author: Jeff Carlson

A far off place, two hundred years in the future, humans will venture out into space and harvest ice from the Jupiter's sixth moon, Europa.  From the Author that brought you Plague Year, Jeff Carlson’s First Contact space adventure thriller, The Frozen Sky,  will take you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions.  From the opening chase scene where your heart is beating to the political structure of Earth and the moral questions regarding first contact, The Frozen Sky will keep you guessing what’s going to happen, throughout the entire book.  

Robotic probes have discovered ancient carvings in a deep cave system on Europa.  Investigating first hand, Alexis Vonderach, aka Von, and her teammates have discovered an ancient buried civilization on Europa. After an accident causes a cave-in, which kills Von’s teammates, Von ends up on the front door-steps of the native population.  As First Contact with the "sunfish" goes horribly wrong, Von is chased through the caverns of Europa by the sunfish as she tries to survive.

I wanted to like this book more than I did.  The story itself is actually very intriguing and it made me think about how awful humans can be.  What rights do we humans have to the resources on another planet?  Profit is what drives Earth politics in this story (and in real life), it may be profitable to destroy another sentient life forms home, but is it moral?  

There were a lot of really interesting concepts in this novel, how space travel will work, futuristic medicine with cloned materials, communicating with an alien species, artificial intelligence.  You can tell that Carlson must have put in a ton of hours researching these concepts.  Overall the story was well done, but it took me quite some time to get into it.  I read on a Kindle, so I can’t tell you the page number, but the first 20% of the book was the initial chase scene with Von and the sunfish.  I struggled to read this part of the book, it was just too long and I was bored.  The beginning was great, you were wondering what was going on, was Von going to survive this chase, who were these creatures chasing her on this desolate and supposedly uninhabited moon? Then the chase scene kept going on and on and on, like the energizer bunny.  Eventually the story progresses from a one woman survival situation to include more characters.  Once there was interaction between other characters I was a lot more entertained and found the book easier to read.

At this time I have no plans on reading the rest of this trilogy.  

3 Penguins