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: Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Dystopian/Sci-fi
Length: 416 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: January 6th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Babylon Restored, formerly Manhattan, may give David answers. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers. 

UNPREDICTABLE.

I’m not a general sci-fi fan. Is Sanderson changing my mind? At least about his sci-fi books! I am really enjoying this series. I am luckily clicking with all things dystopian and sci-fi in this young adult series.

I ADORE David. Oh my goodness. I legitimately laugh out loud multiple times as I was reading. I know his inability to craft puns/similes is ridiculous, but it truly adds to his charm. He’s a brave character who has a stubborn streak. I love seeing David grow over these books and after that ending I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

Firefight could have been in this a bit more (I mean, it is titled after her?). Really could have used more of her throughout. The new location and villains were solid additions. It added a change of pace to the storyline and spread out the entire plot. We even got some more information on Calamity itself. I love the way Sanderson drops in the information and tidbits for an epic conclusion.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia / sci-fi
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical, superpowers, murder, guns (not gory, but is fairly violent)

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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

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