Book Review

Book Review: Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult dystopia + sci-fi
Length: 384 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Ember
Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

David wants Steelheart — one of the Epics said to be invincible, who killed David’s father. For ten years, David has studied and planned for revenge. He wants to join the Reckoners. These rebels assassinate the Epics, super-powered tyrants. He has seen Steelheart bleed.

ALWAYS ON EDGE.

Does anyone else feel that way reading a Sanderson book? No? Just ME?

I feel like every time I read his books (and this is my…10th? book) he keeps me on edge constantly. No matter the genre, characters, setting, etc. I never know quite what’s going to happen, and when it appears a touch cliche, I am then TOTALLY caught off guard by the reveals. And this is why I keep coming back.

I absolutely loved David. Oh my goodness, so cute and adorable. I laughed out loud so many times reading this because his attempts at being smooth were undeniably precious. He was a gem of a main character who really grew up and took in the world around him to survive in the post-apocalyptic waste land.

My feelings towards dystopian books dropped off after reading The Hunger Games and Divergent so I haven’t picked up many (if any) since. I kept putting Steelheart off for this reason. But no longer! I must finish this series. The world building around these Epics and all of their powers is completely fascinating. Sanderson knows how to create a masterpiece in regards to magic/power systems so I can’t wait to know the final details for this one.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / dystopia
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: murder, gun violence, magical powers (energy blasts, control of elements, etc.), physical altercations, car wrecks
  • Content warnings: witnessing the loss of a loved one

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Extinction Trials (The Extinction Trials #1) by S.M. Wilson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult Sci-Fi
Length: 384 pages
Author: S.M. Wilson
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Release Date: January 1st, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.
Welcome to the Extinction Trials.

In Stormchaser and Lincoln’s ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters – human and reptilian – they can’t afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other..

OKAY, LOVED THIS.

I’m easily swayed by all things dinosaurs. This was no exception. I was clearly smitten from the beginning and I have definitely ordered book two.

When I see a tagline, I often ignore them because they really don’t live up to the comparison. The Hunger Games + Jurassic Park? I can actually say this book felt exactly that way. Our dear characters are put into a trial to see who’s going to the land of the dinosaurs. Once there, they start to realize that clearly those above them know more that’s going on then they’re willing to tell. Not to mention, all of the DINOSAURS. So yes, I was pleasantly surprised that I was not let down at all by this.

I love these characters. Stormchaser and Lincoln both have some flaws, and opinions they’re unwilling to compromise on. I like that along with their flaws, there’s many strengths. I love that their conflicts weren’t absurd and Stormchaser and Lincoln both found ways to lean on each other when needed. Future romance? I would not be opposed to that.

This story is really interesting! There’s opinions on both sides on whether or not the dinosaurs need to go or if they can cohabitate with humans. I feel there’s so much more to this world that I can’t wait to explore.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: dinosaur attacks (not overly brutal), physical altercations, murder

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi / Fantasy
Length: 512 pages
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well. 

WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

I’m pretty sure I said that out loud multiple times while reading this. But also, I don’t know how to write a full review without shouting spoilers at you, so bear with me. STILL SPOILER FREE. Just…seriously…GO READ THIS SERIES ASAP PLEASE.

Okay okay, this book was glorious and also destroyed me.

I absolutely loved getting to know all of the characters more. I felt that was missing from Aurora Rising and appreciated the depth and back stories that were added to each of the squad. I have a love for each of them in their own ways and I usually have a main character I don’t like…I can’t hate anyone from Squad 312.

I was especially smitten with getting more of Auri and Kal because woo-wee I am low-key [let’s be honest — high key] ObSeSeD with Kal. NOT TO MENTION, his narrator, Steve West, is also a minor obsession. I will listen to any book he reads. The audio books for this series are fantastic with a full cast, sound effects, and just making you feel like you are sitting there truly listening to the characters. I would highly recommend this as an audio book if you haven’t tried (and are curious about them) before!

A many many things happened over the 500 pages. So much that I can’t recount it all, other than saying, it was intensely filled. There was maybe one slow-ish portion for me, but that was it. Everything hit its markers and kept me reading as fast as I could. I loved the character progression and where this story is going.

AH I DON’T WANT TO FORGET TO MENTION. I have a new ship. And I can’t say that ship because it would spoil some things, but if you’ve read it, and know who I’m referring to, lets discuss. Because I love them. Their dynamic and intensity. The banter and forced proximity. Oooooh boy I hope this is going in the direction I’m imaging or book three might sink me.

I honestly can’t tell you how it ends, because I don’t know how it ends. How twisted is that? And hopefully that sentence made you want to pick this series up because it’s faaaabulous.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi
  • Language: not very much
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; fade to black scenes, closed door scenes
  • Violence: plenty, and fairly gory/bloody; weapons, explosions, physical, torture, guns, magic

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-Fi / Romance / Retelling
Length: 400 pages
Author: Alexa Donne
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

NOT WHAT I EXPECTED.

Wow, I was disappointed with this read. It wasn’t the romantic bachelor-esque sci-fi book set in space. It was hardly a romance, and mostly teenagers sitting around talking about their problems while they go on dates. I think this actually needed more romance and less of Leo constantly denying even the smallest interactions.

*sigh*

I liked the main character, Leo. She was stubborn and caring, with a dash of ingenuity. I wish she would have stood up for herself a bit more, but I could at least keep reading this book because I enjoyed her voice.

There was definitely a lot of angst between Leo and Elliot. Not as flirtatious / lovers to enemies to lovers angst as I was hoping. You could feel the connection and chemistry they had though. I liked their interactions and wish they had more quiet romantic moments together! The last few in the closing scenes were tender and sweet and I wanted mooooore.

Side characters were a bit all of the place. I liked the vast majority of them and what they brought to the story. Good friends, siblings, and companions throughout. I could do without Leo’s awful Dad though. Why is there always a parent forcing a teen to marry? You’re the one who messed up? I don’t know, maybe I think this has been over-played one too many times (in YA novels).

The setting was awesome. I loved the idea of all of these people from Earth living in different ships and still following the same kind of dystopian setting of their cultures. If there were even more ships we could have visited and seen it would have been even better. I liked learning the intricacies of each ship, captain, and function as a whole.

At the end there was actually some drama and things happening. I liked that everyone got a happy ending and pieces of the story were wrapped up well for a standalone.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses; hints of overnight, but very glossed over with no detail
  • Violence: near drowning

Instagram || Goodreads