Book Review

ARC Book Review: Steelstriker (Skyhunter #2) by Marie Lu

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Roaring Books Press
Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Explosive action and swoon-worthy suspense collide in this riveting conclusion to the Skyhunter duet from #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu

As a Striker, Talin was taught loyalty is life. Loyalty to the Shield who watches your back, to the Strikers who risk their lives on the battlefield, and most of all, to Mara, which was once the last nation free from the Karensa Federation’s tyranny.

But Mara has fallen. And its destruction has unleashed Talin’s worst nightmare.

With her friends scattered by combat and her mother held captive by the Premier, Talin is forced to betray her fellow Strikers and her adopted homeland. She has no choice but to become the Federation’s most deadly war machine as their newest Skyhunter.

Red is no stranger to the cruelty of the Federation or the torture within its Skyhunter labs, but he knows this isn’t the end for Mara – or Talin. The link between them may be weak, but it could be Talin and Red’s only hope to salvage their past and safeguard their future.

While the fate of a broken world hangs in the balance, Talin and Red must reunite the Strikers and find their way back to each other in this smoldering sequel to Marie Lu’s Skyhunter.

Thank you to Macmillian Audio and Netgalley for an ALC.

WHAT I WAS HOPING FOR.

Duologies are a fickle beast. I have been disappointed quite a few times this year. Thank goodness, Steelstriker was not one of those books.

As I received an ALC I wanted to first mention the audio book. I listened to Skyhunter via audio and Steelstriker had the same narrators. LOVED IT. Seriously fantastic. I was able to listen at 2.5x speed and had no trouble with the narration. They did an incredible job and would highly recommend!

Now the book itself, ohhhhh the ACTION [and the pain]. This book is not light-hearted or for the feint of heart. Full of drama and intrigue as page by page I wasn’t sure who would survive. With that, there were some times I felt the book was slow (most of the middle). Some scenes and portions of the plot didn’t seem to work towards fulfilling the ultimate goal that was set-up in book one. It came noticeable enough to mention, but luckily the rest of the book carried over well.

And I would have desperately loved even more romance. I adore Red and Talin. These incredible brave, tough and scarred souls who found each other amidst everything crumbling around them. Wow I couldn’t get enough of their connection and the handful of moments I got with them on the same page.

Gratefully, those needed taken down are and the world can start grappling with all that has befallen their nations. I’m glad for an epilogue (that was necessary) to tie up some plot points and give a glimpse at the future.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to one implied closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: war themes, mutilation and medical experimentation, torture, poisoning, blood and gore depiction, executions

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Book Review

Book Review: Skyhunter (Skyhunter #1) by Marie Lu

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi
Length: 374 pages
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Release Date: September 29th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In a world broken by war, a team of young warriors is willing to sacrifice everything to save what they love.

The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.

The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.

Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.

Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs.

When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?

FANTASTIC.

A nod to the audio for this one as well. I loved it.

This book was great. I have a hit and miss vibe with Lu’s books, this has renewed my faith that I do love her writing and story telling. I was captivated from the first chapters for Skyhunter. It’s so easy to fall into the writing style and to be captured by how everything starts out.

I loved the scheming and plot. I knew what the story was about and loved the shock value moments of finding out new information. Talin was such a formidable heroine. She is strong and memorable. Talin and Red are a new fav ship that better be sailing off in the next book. Their connection and friendship really helped drive the story as two people from different sides of the land. There’s so much action, and twists and turns. For a sci-fi/dystopia novel I was enraptured (it’s usually not my go-to). The flow kept things moving and I don’t remember anything ever dragging.

But also, THAT ENDING. Talk about a cliffhanger. I have no idea where things are going now and I kinda love it. I’ll definitely be picking up the next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia / sci-fi
  • Language: a little
  • Violence: physical, creature attacks, zombie (referred to as ghosts) attacks, depictions of battles; bloody/gory but not overly so

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Book Review

Book Review: The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Historical Fiction / Magical Realism
Length: 336 pages
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish–to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age–her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true–but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

A BIT DULL.

I did a buddy-read for this and I think that was more interesting and fun than this book was.

The writing was gorgeous and easy to follow. That was never my issue, I didn’t click with the story as a whole. Magical realism + historical fiction are a hard combination to mix. I usually don’t like them, and this was no different. I found it a unique premise and clearly saw the effort put into this. A lot of research into Mozart’s history was accomplished to make this book what it was. I would have loved a historical fiction based off of Mozart’s life without the fantasy aspects.

I mostly felt disconnected from the story. I did feel some depth with Nannerl and truly saddened by her inability to stand and do what she wanted just because she was a woman (with respect to the time period). She didn’t really ever do anything about this though, which I guess as I’m writing this, falls in line with the historical aspects (based off of the author’s note, not my own research).

It was a younger YA than I was thinking and honestly it needed some more flair for me to be into it. With the characters mostly very young the entire book it wasn’t like they could do much anyways (other than practice the claiver). I was underwhelmed and sped read to get through it. I struggled to even write more for this review because I don’t feel like I have anything to say about it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction / magical realism
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: general sickness (small pox, etc.)

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Book Review

Book Review: Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-Fi / Dystopia
Length: 384 pages
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Expected Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel.

With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale.

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . . 

SATISFIED.

First of all y’all. I thought my babes June and Day ran off into the sunset, figured things out, and were this fantastical happy ever after.

This was not the case and that was probably my biggest gripe. THOUGH, I will say, there was a *perfect* ending to them so I’m fine. It’s fine. I can overlook this issue because at least this book closed that fact.

What I was loving was the relationship between the brothers, Eden and Daniel. I love the focus on them and figuring out how to really be in each other’s lives again after the horrors of the war in the Republic. There was a lot of struggle, miscommunication and tender moment between the two. Their bond deepened over the story and I just adore a great brother dynamic. It’s super charming.

I’m so excited we got more of June and Day too. I NEEDED CLOSURE (see first two paragraphs). I got that and more. They were like cute kids falling in love all over again and I’m totally smitten with Daniels’ confessions of love. HERE FOR IT.

I wasn’t sure this book was wholly necessary (still on the fence), but I don’t think it was completely unnecessary either. Sometimes you get continuation of series books that really don’t fall in line. I’m grateful that this one was a good story and really gave the whole series a finale it deserved.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / dystopia
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses, a no detail fade-to-black scene
  • Violence: murder, kidnapping, physical, stabbings, knife fights, gun wounds, descriptions of war

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