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ARC Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

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Published: September 12th, 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers | Series: Nyxia Triad #1 | Length: 384 pages | Genre: YA sci-fi | Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley | Content Warning: violence, torture

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Summary from Goodreads:

Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.
 
Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
 
Forever.
 
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
 
But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

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Review: Station Fosaan by Dee Garretson

station fosaan by dee garretson book review blog header

Published: February 14th, 2017 by Month9Books | Series: Torch World #1 | Length: 300 pages | Genre: YA sci-fi | Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for a review. | Content Warning: racism, colonialism

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Summary from Goodreads:

Earth scientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly three-hundred years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain. 

Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the small population of reclusive Fosaanians, descendants of the survivors. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Neen plans to do both of those things.

When Quinn discovers a beautiful Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit, he soon learns Earth’s government may not be telling the whole truth about Fosaan and the cause of the past disaster. 

There are some who to restore the planet to its former glory by any means necessary. Quinn finds himself caught between his loyalty to his own people and what is right for Mira and her people. 

Before he can decide what to do, the scientists are taken captive, stranding the young Earthers on Fosaan. 

Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of those both on Fosaan and at home.

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Review: Nexis by A.L. Davroe (+ Giveaway!)

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Today I’m going to be reviewing Nexis by A.L. Davroe as part of the blog tour celebrating the release of the sequel, Redux. Since it’s part of a tour, there’s also some promotional info at the bottom of the post about both books AND there’s a giveaway where you could win a pretty awesome prize pack, so be sure to check it out! Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour, too.

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ARC Review: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

29362972Rating: 4/5

Release Date: April 26th, 2016

Length: 331 pages

Source: eARC from the publisher, Month9Books

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Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of her dome. Now Nat wants answers. What else might her government be hiding from the good and loyal people of Dome 1618?

So quick recap: Nat lives in a dome where all the residents are told they’re being protected from radiation but then she sees someone on the outside which seems to show that there is no radiation. Nat then begins to question everything she’s been told by the Order.

I really enjoyed this book. I love dystopians and this is actually the first one I’ve read in awhile. There Once Were Stars reminded me a bit of The Giver and of Five Seven Five which is a far less well-known book but that I reviewed a few months ago. But it still had plenty of originality too. I also was surprised that I liked it as much as I did once I realized there was this epidemic aspect to it (kind of similar to post-apocalyptic zombie stuff) as I really don’t care for zombies at all. However, this didn’t make me like it any less, perhaps because it wasn’t a main driving factor.

First of all, this is a very fast-paced book. Except for maybe a couple of scenes in the beginning, every scene helped move the plot along. Even when it was just Nat and someone hanging out, she would still learn information about the dome or the Order that contributed in some way to the plot. Once the plot starts, it doesn’t stop. This is something that I really enjoyed as it kept me interested. I tend to get bored when books are slow or when there are too many digressions from the main plot but that was not at all a problem here. If you like plot-driven books, this will not disappoint.

I thought McFarlane did a great job with the world-building because it was really integrated into the story, rather than there being an info-dump in the beginning of the book. Since you learn bit by bit about the world, it’s much easier to remember things and not feel overwhelmed by the information you’re getting.

I enjoyed the characters too. I’ll admit that I didn’t feel very strongly about Nat. I certainly felt bad for her because she had a rough childhood and then once the outsider was found, she had a whole lot of new problems to face. But beyond that, I didn’t really feel much of a connection with her. I can’t help but wonder if this is because so much emphasis was placed on the plot. However, despite not feeling very strongly about her, I still really liked the book. I was definitely happy that this didn’t stop me from enjoying everything.

I really liked most of the side characters simply because I didn’t really know what to think about them. I think at one point or another I questioned the trustworthiness of just about every character. It truly was hard to tell whether certain characters were on Nat’s side or whether they would betray her and it added a lot of suspense and suspicion to the story.

There was a love triangle in this with Nat, Evan, and Jak. I will go on record and say that I despise Jak because basically he does nothing but whine about Nat not wanting to be with him. In the beginning, she’s unsure about it and asks him to give her time to think and adjust as a lot of stuff has happened to her recently which was toootally reasonable but he gets all grumpy and ugh. There are a few parts where he redeems himself but I really just didn’t like him. Evan was much better but there were times where he complained way too much or was just downright mean. Anyway, I’m not someone who gets annoyed by love triangles so I can’t really comment much on it. I like love triangles, no matter how overdone they are haha

Overall, this was a fun and entertaining read. Full of conspiracies, betrayals, and suspense, I was entertained from beginning to end. Give this a try if you like dystopian or sci-fi. The ending makes me think there will be another book but it isn’t listed as part of a series on Goodreads so I’m not sure whether there will be. I really hope so as I am desperate to see what happens next to Nat and Evan!

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ARC Review: Fear My Mortality by Everly Frost

25349721Rating: 5/5

Release Date: April 5, 2016 (Out now!)

Length: 342 pages

Source: eARC from the publisher, Month9Books

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The future is bright for 16-year-old Ava Holland and the residents of Evereach. They don’t have to worry about old age or even getting sick. In their world, humans regenerate, heal, and live for hundreds of years. Mortality isn’t something to fear. Disease has been all but eradicated. Everything changes when Ava watches her brother die and he doesn’t regenerate. Ava’s genetics are called into question by the government, scientists, extremists, and Ava herself. Could her genes hold the answer to mortality? Is she an anomaly or something to be feared? Determined not to become anyone’s guinea pig, Ava doesn’t stick around to find out. She wants answers too, but the only person who can help her is 17-year-old Michael Bradley, the boy who killed her brother. If either of them have even the slightest chance of survival, they must find the genetic keys hidden in Ava’s DNA before it’s too late.

Guys. This book was SO. GOOD.

Okay, so Fear My Mortality takes place in this futuristic world where humans have evolved the ability to “regenerate” when they’re injured and heal themselves. They can die and come back to life after a few seconds until they reach a few hundred years old and then they have their “final death.” Ava, however, soon finds out that she is mortal and that she can’t heal herself.

This was a really unique concept. I’ve read my fair share of sci-fi, but I hadn’t come across anything like this. Usually if immortality is involved in a story, it’s usually fantasy and the immortal beings aren’t human, but are wizards or something. I thought the idea behind it was really interesting and I appreciated it wasn’t like anything I had read before.

I was also fascinated by the world. Not only do people live to be hundreds of years and not only do they heal after dying, but they’re totally unaffected by the thought of themselves or someone else dying. In the very beginning of the story, a toddler is hit by a car and goes through “first death” and his mother doesn’t care at all, but is just more annoyed that she’s going to be late for work. I also liked that there was an aspect of inequality woven into the world: slow healers are really looked down upon and there’s even a terrorist group, the Bashers, who go after them to “weed out the weak.” Imagine how people feel when they found out Ava can’t heal.

Right from the beginning I really felt bad for Ava. So much happens to her just in the first few chapters and I wanted to just give her a hug. Ava seems pretty lost at the beginning too because she definitely views herself as different, even though she doesn’t yet know that she’s mortal. She knows that it’s weird for her to be afraid to die or to be concerned when she other people (like the toddler who got hit by a car) die and so she kind of tries to blend in and keep those thoughts to herself. However, as the story goes on, even though she’s facing a ton of danger and is fighting for her life, she really grows as a person. Where before she kind of “followed the pack,” now she is very much a leader and isn’t afraid to do what she thinks is right.

I found most of the characters to be very compelling and constantly found myself wondering who could be trusted and what their motives were. There are a few people who right after being introduced to them you know they’re the “bad guys” and these characters just had me wondering “why are they doing this? WHAT are they doing?” Then there were characters who were introduced as “good” characters but that you either later find out are terrible or you just aren’t sure whether or not they can be trusted. This added a lot of suspense and betrayal to the story.

Related, there were quite a few little plot twists and I constantly found myself wondering what was going to happen next. This book was incredibly difficult to put down. Every night as I was reading it I was doing the whole “I’ll just read one more chapter” and then the chapter would end and I’d go “well, I can’t stop at that! One more chapter” and the cycle continued. I didn’t want the book to ever end.

If you like sci-fi at all, even if it isn’t your favorite genre, you should absolutely check this out. It’s so captivating and will have you hooked from page one. Everly Frost knows how to write. I don’t have a single thing that I can think about that I didn’t like. I can’t wait for the next book in the series (seriously, can I have it now?).

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Review of Five Seven Five by C.E. Wilson

White Frost has only known the darkness.

Luckier than most, White’s cousin provides her with what seem to many as little more than scraps of paper, but they hold deep secrets. The papers he provides are cryptic collections that hint at a world beyond dusty hallways and candlelight. These words give White hope that she can be one of the great people in her colony. A Chosen One. A member of a group of the strongest people who are allowed to escape the darkness and venture out into the Unknown. At eighteen years old, White is too young to become a Chosen and decides to take her cousin’s advice and wait patiently. But when a tragedy upends her life, White realizes that if she wants to truly understand what the mysterious words on paper mean, she’ll have to go beyond every boundary set by her society – including ones set by her own cousin.
When White finally decides to seek the truth, what she finds is more astonishing than anything her cousin could have prepared her for.
Blinding light.
Colors beyond black and gray.
A world where tears fall from the skies.
And an incredible being who may or may not be the Creator of it all.
Everything she’s ever wanted is right in front of her, but this information comes at a price White is not sure she can pay. She has always suspected that her hunger for knowledge is simultaneously her greatest strength and weakness, and now she must ask herself if the answers she sought are worth endangering not only her life, but the lives of everyone she’s ever known.

The plot and concept behind this book are both really interesting. The plot was similar to other things that I’ve read, but contained a lot of originality at the same time. I thought the pacing of the story was perfect. There was, of course, a period of world-building and introducing characters, etc. but it was the perfect length, providing just enough background to set up the story without being too long or boring. To avoid spoilers, I’ll just say that the underlying concept of different types of people is definitely captivating. And I’m always a sucker for a protagonist, or really any character, with a thirst for knowledge. I really enjoyed seeing White as she discovers all this new information about the world and becomes more and more enthralled by it.

I also really enjoyed the world that Wilson created here. I’m a big fan of dystopian stories, so this very strict and limiting society with harsh punishments for rule-breakers was really interesting to me. I didn’t feel that the dystopian society was really the main focus of the story, but it certainly added to it.

Something that was really different was the genre, which I’m still not 100% sure of if I’m being honest. The first section definitely focuses on the dystopian society – how limiting it is and how dangerous it is to break rules, etc. However, it does switch to a more sci-fi/fantasy genre about a third of the way through. I appreciated how unique it felt.

There was one thing that I found really weird and wished hadn’t been included. Again, to avoid spoilers, I’ll leave it at: I really felt it was odd for White to have a crush on the person she does. It just didn’t feel “right,” I guess. I would have been much happier if that friendship just remained platonic.

Wilson’s writing isn’t perfect, but by no means is it bad or hard to follow. I found some bits that she wrote really wonderful and quite beautiful, but a few times it did seem a bit disconnected (for a lack of a better word). However, the at-times-imperfect prose didn’t take away from the story or make things hard to understand and are outweighed by great writing.

I can’t close out this review before saying that the ending is a huge cliffhanger that will leave you wanting the next book immediately.

Overall, I liked this book and will definitely be keeping an eye out for the release of the second. If you enjoy YA sci-fi, fantasy, or dystopian, you should give this book a shot.

I received a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Buy it on Amazon.