Review: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

The Details

Publisher:   Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: April 4, 2017
Genres:  YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

31423196GoodReads Blurb

She’s a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine.

Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true. 

My Review

I was skeptical about this book when I started it. I’m not the biggest sci-fi fan, I got this book through Uppercase in April, and I haven’t been completely let down by an Uppercase book yet, so I figured there had to be something that makes this books one of the best of April. I also signed up for Uppercase to read outside my comfort zone, and this kind of book is not one that I would have picked up on my own. Different can be good if you give it a chance.

This story is told in two in two different third-person narratives, one through the eyes of a young woman from the “new Earth” planet Genesis: Noemi. The other is a Data from Star Trek style robot guy named Able. The two stories have voices just different enough, Noemi thinking with her heart and Able thinking with his robot brain.

I mentioned in my WWW Wednesday post when I had just started reading this book that I was worried about human/robot love. The romance was not a big part of this story, I mean, it’s there, but the love in this story is more of a growth thing than a love thing. Both Noemi and Able have a growth arc that was interesting to read.

It took a little bit for me to get into this book, again because Sci-Fi isn’t exactly my thing, but I did greatly enjoy it. As our pair of heroes travel to the different planets that Earth has colonized, I became more interested. There’s a lot of really interesting elements that evolve as the story continues. I liked the Greek Myths that get intertwined in the story, as well as the religious aspects. Neither are overt, just themes that weave through the story and become part of the mythos of this series.

Watching the evolution of Able was an interesting aspect of the book. He starts out as a robot, just a machine with orders that he can’t walk away from. As Able learns and grows how he adjusts to the differences in the new world is cool to read about. His arc is the biggest of all the characters in the book.

Overall I think this book is an excellent one, even for a read that doesn’t exactly love Science Fiction stories.

I look forward to seeing the sequel, which is expected sometime next year. (My 2018 TBR is already getting pretty long lol)

Have you read this book? What did you think? I would love to hear from you!

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

Review: Frost Blood Elly Blake

The Details:

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: January 10th, 2017
Genres: YA, fantastic, magic, romance
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Blurb:

The frost king will burn.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible—Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her—and from the icy young man she has come to love.

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My Review:

Last week I discussed Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels that I’ve read and enjoyed, and I’m not sure if it was 100% clear in that post, but that particular genre isn’t exactly my favorite of all time. This book coming shortly after a reading a book with similar but not the same storylines, I was a little weary about whether or not this was going to be my cup of tea. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

This story starts with the heroine, Ruby, being discovered as a Fire Blood in a Frost Blood kingdom. She has the power to control Fire, and this is a threat to the people who can control Frost who rule the kingdom. Acceptable and plausible plot, I like it.

After Ruby’s mother is killed by the frost blood king’s men, she is taken to jail and held there for 5 months. Durning this time, she is tortured, cold water is thrown on her so she can’t produce fire. Then she’s rescued. During the time while she is traveling it is discussed that she is physically weak (and also smells because she hasn’t bathed in 5 months. This was an important part for me, and I was very pleased the Elly Blake included it. Thank you for realism Ms. Blake.)

Ruby is rescued by a teenage-ish age guy and a bunch of monks. The teenage-ish age guy Arcus wears a mask and hood all the time that covers his face, so he obviously looks like this:

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I mean, that’s what I saw in my head when Ruby describes him. Arcus is a super strong frost blood, and together with help from the monks, Ruby learns to use her power and gets stronger because there is a good chance that she probably is the child talked about it prophesy because why not.

Just as Ruby is getting to the pivotal moment of her training, she is captured but the Frost Blood King, then major spoilers, so that’s the end of my talking about the plot.

Real talk though, I enjoyed this book. Parts of it were a little cliche, but, you know, trappings of genre. It wasn’t super predictable, the characters were well formed. Although the love interest was clearly Kylo Ren, he grows on you over the story. I like his character arc.

Ruby is a strong narrator, who feels like a “regular” 17-year-old girl, her conflicted feelings about Kylo Ren/ Arcus, her want to revenge her mother, her feelings of inadequacy, she feels like a real person.

Overall this book is well written and enjoyable. I recommend it to fans of the fantasy genre and those who are on the fence about whether or not fantasy is something you don’t exactly love. It’s just a good book.

Goodreads

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

 

 

 

Ever the Hunted by Erin Sunnerill

The Details:
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Published: December 27, 2016
Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure, Young Adult
My Rating: My rating 2.5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Seventeen-year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force

My Review:

Usually, I like this kind of book, and I think that there are definitely people who will love it, I just wasn’t feeling it.

I found the dialogue stiff in spots, and the world wasn’t as developed as I was hoping. There was no difference between the kingdoms, in my opinion, the only thing that separated them was whether or not some of the people who lived there had magic and apparently one of the kingdom wears brighter colors.

I liked the idea of a girl searching for her father’s murder, but she isn’t searching for him on her own, she’s being forced to by the King. I think it could have been a much better story if Britta went off looking for the murderer on her own (but that’s my editor brain trying to fix things).

I think that the main character suffers a little bit from “special snowflake” syndrome, bordering on Mary Sue territory, but all of her “skills” are explained for the most part except for one that’s a huge spoiler. Britta is supposed to be an expert tracker, trained by her father, a bounty hunter, but on of the guards escorting her picks up what she’s doing within a chapter or so. So I didn’t see how she could be such a renown tracker. She also keeps talking about how wonderful the love interest smells, but they were –literally– traveling for weeks without bathing, and it’s a universally accepted fact that people who are sweating and don’t bathe for weeks smell gross. He does not smell good Britta.

I felt that there were parts of the story that went too fast and parts that were dragged. There are parts where there isn’t a page break but the characters are in a completely different place in the next paragraph, and we’re just supposed to understand that when a character says “let’s go” that the have moved a significant distance.

I found parts very predictable, sometimes I think if find things too predictable because I watch a lot of crime shows and try to figure out what happened before the narrative, so what I think is predictable may not be as predictable as I think it is.

All in all, I do think there is an audience for this book, and I’m sure there are many people who will love it, it just wasn’t for me.

Until next time Internet

Deanna