ARC Book Review: Glow: Book 1, Potency by Aubrey Hadley

Book: Glow, Book 1, Potency by Aubrey Hadley

Expected Publication is February 13, 2019 by Ruby & Topaz Publishing|Expected # Of Pages: 699

Where I Got It: I got Glow as an e-arc from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

The Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome has returned after a six-month hiatus. This time, it’s popped up in New York, and it’s wiped out an entire homeless shelter.The same night of the outbreak, Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl, stumbles across a glowing figure in the desert outskirts of her neighborhood. As her suburb goes on lockdown, Harper finds herself isolated from her friends and family, and soon begins to suspect that the events — though thousands of miles apart — may have something in common. Harper must find her bravery and embark on a plot-twisting adventure that will have her looking for answers in unexpected places… and worlds.

I was looking through the books on netgalley one day, and came across this book.  It looked interesting, and the idea is pretty cool.  For the most part, I didn’t like Glow.

It started off really good, and I think that’s why I ended up being so disappointed in it.  Harper has this really protective mother who homeschool’s Harper and her sister.  Harper’s barely allowed to the leave the house, and her mom has one of the neighbors watching the house in case Harper leaves.  You’re not really sure why her mom’s like this, especially since it seems like things were like this before the Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome.

At first, I was definitely intrigued, and it seemed like we had a mystery on our hands.  We eventually learn what’s going on, but that’s when the book started to lose me.  Once her neighborhood goes on lockdown, and she gets whisked away on this…adventure, I started to lose interest.  It was hard to keep track of what was going on, and it had the potential to be really interesting.  Instead, I was really bored, and it was page after page about why one group was better than another, and Harper trying to figure out this new world.

It’s sci-fi and it felt like I was reading about the end of the world.  I expected a lot more action and excitement and danger, and I didn’t get any of it.  It felt really slow, and we’re told things as opposed to seeing them.  It was a lot longer than it needed to be, and too much time was spent explaining things.  It looks like this book is the first book in a series, even though I couldn’t find any information about a book two.  I expect to see the world and story get set up but we got more than what we needed.

I’m not interested enough to pick up any other books in this series (if there are any) and I’m not completely sure where things are headed in any future books.  With the how the book ended, it seemed like there was going to be a lot of waiting until the next thing happens, and I don’t particularly want to read through pages and pages of Harper waiting until the next big thing happens.  I could be wrong, but I just don’t particularly want to find out.  Especially if it’s anything like this book.  Hopefully not though.

My Rating: 1 star.  I like the idea, and it started off really good!  It just got bogged down in the details, and I really did expect a sci-fi story involving aliens with an apocalyptic feel to be more exciting and action-packed.

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Book Review: The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

Book: The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

Published March 2019 by Sourcebooks Fire|357 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Last 8 #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack—perfect for fans of The 5th Wave

Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.

I liked The Last 8!  It’s an interesting read, but I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

Don’t get me wrong, you can’t go wrong with an alien invasion causing death and destruction on a worldwide scale.  At the same time, though, aliens invading earth seem a little bit…dated.  I hate saying that, I really do.  I liked Clover, and the world but something about the book seemed old, even though it’s a pretty new release.

I really liked Clover and we see her struggle a lot throughout the book.  I loved that there was a content warning at the beginning of the book, and that Pohl had a list of resources at the end of the book.  I thought how Clover acted throughout the book was really realistic, and understandable considering everything that happened to her during the book.  Especially at the beginning.

It’s an interesting group, and I loved that there are survivors of an alien invasion at Area 51.  Why does this not come up more?  There’s a lot going on with this group, and while I wasn’t surprised at why they survived, I am curious to see where things go.

I thought the book wrapped up really well, and I was surprised to see that it’s going to be a duology.  I think there’s more story to tell, especially with how things ended, but I’m also hesitant to read the next book.  I’m a little worried that it will feel added on, especially since I only have a vague idea where things are headed.  It’s definitely a book that can go either way- there’s enough closure that it works well as a stand-alone but there’s enough there that the story can continue on.

3 stars.  I liked The Last 8, and I especially liked Clover but I also didn’t love it.  I feel like this story is one I’ve read before.

Book Review: The Fever King by Victoria Lee

Book Review: The Fever King by Victoria Lee

Published March 2019 by Skyscape|375 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Feverwake #1

Genre: YA Sci Fi/Dystopia

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

The Fever King is an interesting one!  I’m really glad I read it, and I ended up really liking it!

The setting was really interesting.  It’s a futuristic America that’s been torn apart by a magical virus, and there’s elements of fantasy and sci-fi.  It seems like there’s a lot to explore in Noam’s world, especially since America isn’t the America we know.  At least in terms of geography.  In terms of refuges and immigrants, the world Noam lives in is all too familiar, and very, very real.

I really liked Noam, and he’s such a different character than Dara.  To a certain extent, he’s more trusting of others than Dara.  That surprised me, considering how Noam grew up, but I also don’t blame him.  I feel like I might have done the same thing if I were him.  I do get his decision to stay behind, though.  I mean, no one would ever suspect him, and he definitely seems like the sort of guy who is underestimated.  I can’t wait to read the next book to see how things turn out for him.

I’m not sure how I feel about Dara.  I did feel for him, and it sounds like things weren’t easy for him.  I do get why he acted the way he did, and I did like him a little more by the end of the book than I did when we first met him.

I don’t have anything else to say about The Fever King.  The world is pretty interesting, and I’d love to see more of it.  I really liked how magic was used in this book and I feel like there’s more to it than what we see.  Especially with how everything came about.  I’d love more backstory on that, but I don’t have a lot of hope we’ll see it.  Either way, I hope we get at least a little more with the magic.

4 stars.  I really liked The Fever King, but I didn’t love it.

Book Review: A Spark Of White Fire by Sangu Manadanna

Book: A Spark Of White Fire by Sangu Manadanna

Published September 2018 by Sky Pony|320 pages

Where I Got: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: The Celestial Trilogy #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Re-Telling

Named one of the best 25 space opera books by BookRiot!

The first book in a scifi retelling of the Mahabrahata. When Esmae wins a contest of skill, she sets off events that trigger an inevitable and unwinnable war that pits her against the family she would give anything to return to.

In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back. 

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali. 

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart. 

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

I really liked this one!  I’m not familiar with the Mahabharata at all, so I’m not at all familiar with the stories that inspired this book.  But I want to know more about them because I am curious about the stories that inspired this book.

I really liked the setting, and you can’t go wrong with a book set in space.  It was an interesting setting for the story, and I kept picturing planets, but it seemed like everything was set on space ships.  Maybe I’m wrong on that one, but that was my impression.  It was a little bit fuzzy for me, since nothing was really described or explained.  I wish there had been a little more world-building, but it’s also possible I missed those details.  It wouldn’t be the first time that happened, and it probably won’t be the last.

I also had a hard time keeping track of who was who and how they were all related, especially at the beginning.  I managed to keep up by the end of the book, but at first, it wasn’t clear to me what was going on.  We were definitely thrown into this world, which is fine but it took a while to get my bearings straight.

Fate, free will and prophecies are pretty important in this book.  There’s definitely the sense that certain events were put in motion because certain characters did everything they could to avoid it.  Esmae is definitely the lost princess no one knows about who comes out of the woodwork to claim her throne and her crown.

I really liked Esmae, and there were a lot of beliefs she had to reconcile and loyalties she had to deal with.  I wish we had more with her and Titania, and I feel like there’s a lot of potential there.  I know Titania is a warship but I’m definitely intrigued by their relationship.  Something about that made me think of the Binti trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor.

I can’t speak to how well it does as a re-telling but based off a quick read of the Mahabrahata wikipedia page, it seems like it sticks to the overall story…but in space.  Again, I could be way off, because I skimmed the Wikipedia page, but it seems like it sticks to the overall story.  I don’t know if we’ll continue to see that, but we’ll find out in the books to come.  I’m sure someone much more familiar with these stories could talk about this aspect a lot better than I ever will.

I really enjoyed this one.  There’s a lot of political intrigue, and I’m curious to see where things go, especially with how things ended.

4 stars.  I was wavering between 3 and 4 stars, but I really liked the setting, the story and Esmae.

Book Review: On The Edge Of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Book: On The Edge Of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Published March 2016 by Amulet Books|456 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Apocalyptic/Sci-Fi

January 29, 2035.

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

On The Edge Of Gone wasn’t what I thought it would be, and I really wished I liked it more.  I can see why people like it, but it just wasn’t for me.

The idea behind it is really interesting.  A comet is about to hit, and some people have left earth, while others have stayed behind in shelters.  I liked seeing Denise fight to get to the shelter she’s been assigned to, and then fight to stay on a ship that needs all passengers to have a skill that would allow them to stay on board.  I get her fears that she won’t be able to stay on board, especially with her mother, and I can appreciate she’d do what she could to help out and have a better chance at survival.

The story felt pretty slow and unfortunately, it felt like it took place over a really long period of time.  It felt like it took place over weeks, that’s how slow it felt.  In reality, it probably took place over the course of a few days, but it was so slowly paced that it felt longer.  It also felt like absolutely nothing happened, and I expected a lot more action, considering it was the end of the world.  I kept waiting for something more exciting to happen, and for me, it never did.

I never felt completely invested, and while I felt for Denise and what she was going through and experiencing, I also never completely cared about what happened to her.  I mean, I knew it was going to be a survival story, but I don’t think I was expecting it to be a slow-paced survival story.  I think, overall, I had a really hard time getting into it, especially since nothing excited happened during the book.

One of the best things about the book was seeing a female character who’s autistic.  We were very much in her head and what she was going through, and you felt her sense of panic and worry as she fought for a place on the ship before it took off into space.  You saw how people (particularly one of her former teachers) didn’t realize she was autistic, especially because she was a female person of color.  People don’t see her as autistic, because she doesn’t match up with their stereotype and image of who an autistic person is or should be.

The setting is pretty cool as well, and I liked seeing an apocalyptic survival set in a place that isn’t the U.S.  While I am not at all familiar with Amsterdam, I felt like we got to explore at least part of it.  The author is from Amsterdam, and it was clear that the author was drawing on her own experiences living there.  It definitely came across that she knew the city.

2 stars.  I liked Denise’s voice, and I felt for her as she tried to survive a comet hitting earth.  But the story was too slow, and it felt like nothing happened.

Book Review: Wildcard by Marie Lu

Book: Wildcard by Marie Lu

Published September 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|341 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Warcross #2

Genre: YA Sci Fi

All bets are off. This time the gamble is survival.

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems—and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

I really liked this one!  I was really curious about where things were headed after finishing Warcross a few months ago, and I’m glad we finally found out.

We learn a lot more about Zero in this book, and the mysterious Blackcoats that he works with.  I don’t know what I was expecting with Zero’s story, and why he disappeared years earlier, but I’m also glad we learned more about him.  I was surprised by everything that happened with Hideo- I wasn’t expecting it, but I am glad there were consequences to what he did.  I definitely get why he wanted to find his brother, and the lengths he would go to in order to find him.  At the same time, though, I think his technology could be used in ways he never intended, but hopefully, everything will turn out okay with his algorithm.

Emika…I don’t have strong thoughts about her either way.  She’s a pawn for pretty much the whole book, and I wish she had been able to make more of her own decisions.  Emika is more of a messenger/go-between than anything else, and I really missed the parts where she’s with the Phoenix Riders.  I also missed the actual Warcross elements as well, though I get why we don’t see more of the Phoenix Riders and Warcross.

Wildcard is definitely more about Hideo and Zero, and less about the technology Hideo created.  I liked those parts, don’t get me wrong, but I still wish we had seen more of the other things I really liked about the first book.

Part of me is glad that this was a duology, because I can’t really see how Lu would stretch the story out.  At the same time, part of me wants to see Emika and Hideo’s story beyond what we saw in this book.  Overall, it’s a pretty good conclusion to the story.  The story did move pretty fast, and there were times where I kept forgetting the book only took place over the course of a few days.

4 stars.  I really liked it learning more about Hideo and Zero, but Emika seemed boring in this one.  I also missed the Phoenix Riders and the Warcross elements but it’s still a pretty good good conclusion.

Book Review: Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

Book: Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

Published September 2018 by Scholastic Press|407 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Uglies #5

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia

Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . but very few people have ever seen them together. This is because Frey is Rafi’s double, raised in the shadows of their rich father’s fortress. While Rafi has been taught to charm, Frey has been taught to kill. Frey only exists to protect her sister. There is no other part of her life. Frey has never been out in the world on her own – until her father sends her in Rafi’s place to act as collateral for a dangerous deal. Everyone thinks she’s her sister – but Col, the son of a rival leader, is starting to get close enough to tell the difference. As the stakes grow higher and higher, Frey must decide whether she can trust him – or anyone in her life.

I’ll admit, I was both really nervous and really excited about this book.  Excited, because we get to revisit the world of the Uglies, and way after the end of Specials.  But I was also nervous, because I wasn’t too enthused with Extras, which felt tacked on when I originally read.  I was nervous it would be the same with Impostors.

I’m glad I read it, though, because I ended up being nervous for no reason.  One thing I really appreciated is the fact that you don’t need to read the first 4 books in order to know what’s going on with this one.  Even though it’s the 5th book in the Uglies series, it also felt like a sequel or spin-off series.  You get an idea of what happened before, and it was worked into the book really well but it’s also a completely different story, and you can follow what’s going on pretty well.  I’d still recommend the previous books because they are really good, and the 4th might feel like less of an afterthought now that the series is continuing.

I really liked the characters, and part of me wishes we saw more of Rafi.  We get a good sense of who she is, especially by the end of the book, but I have the feeling there’s more going on with her than what we get in the book.

I liked Frey too, and I liked that she wasn’t always sure what to do, or how to act.  It’s understandable, considering she didn’t get the education Rafi did.  That was something that took me out of it a little, though.  I mean, I know she’s a body double and all, she’s just a stand-in for when they need to make an appearance in front of a crowd, but what if something were to happen to Rafi?  Eventually, it might become obvious that there’s something going on, and I feel like she should have had the same education Rafi did for it to really work.  It seemed like Frey really needed but her father obviously had other plans.

There is a lot of action, and it does move pretty fast, which is good.  There’s also a lot of twists and turns, and it was fun to go along for the ride.

4 stars.  I didn’t love it, and Frey not having the complete education Rafi did took me out of the story a little bit.  Still, it’s worth reading, especially if you liked the original series.

Book Review: Likel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Book: Likel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Published May 2018 by Knopf Books For Young Readers|402 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Likelike #1

Genre: YA Sci Fi

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

I’m not sure what to think about Likelike.  I read this one because it was this month’s book club pick, and I get why people like Jay Kristoff.  I don’t know that I would have picked up Likelike if it were not for book club, but it’s different.

At first, I had a hard time getting into.  Partly because of the…terminology I guess.  It’s my least favorite thing about sci-fi, and I generally don’t read a lot of sci-fi focusing on robots.  Not only that, but I had a hard time keeping up with who was who, and I had to read the first few chapters a few times just to figure out who the characters were and what was going on, because I wasn’t getting it.  It could have been me, it could have been the book, but that is neither here nor there.

It also felt painfully slow, and the memories that Eve had were kind of disjarring.  I mean, you knew she was remembering things, and there are some secrets that should have stayed secret.  This is a dark book, and it is definitely not for everyone.  I don’t know if his books are ones I would like- there were things I really liked about this one, but I also don’t know what to think about it.  Between this one and Illuminae, which I couldn’t finish because the formatting drove me up a wall, I don’t think I’ll seek out one of his books.  I’d give it a try if it were for book club, maybe, but on my own?  Probably not.

I liked the plot twist (as obvious as it was), and I like the premise of the story.  I liked the world that Eve lived in, and it’s a futuristic wasteland.  I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it, and it is different than a lot of the other sci-fi I’ve read.  It stands out, and in a good way.  If you’re looking for something unique and that doesn’t shy away from the dark side, this is the book for you.  There is no happy ending, but I’m oddly fine with that.  I had the feeling it wouldn’t have a happy ending, and it seems like happy endings are not his thing.

Also, I don’t read a lot of sci-fi.  Well, something so strongly sci-fi.  Set in space, yes.  Dystopia, definitely yes.  Maybe sci-fi that’s not super-technical, but something like this?  Usually not.  Maybe it’s just not my thing.

Anyway, I did like the world he built.  It’s vivid, and I could picture things so clearly.  Honestly, while I’m not sure what to think about this book in book form, I’d probably watch the hell out of a movie or tv show based on Lifelike.  I’m pretty sure it would be interesting to watch, and all of a sudden, I’m thinking that this is one of those books that I’d like far better on screen than in print.  Or maybe, I’d like it better as an audio book, but I’m not sure if that’s something I’m interested in doing.

I feel like I’m making no sense at all with this review.  My thoughts are all over this place for this one, and I can’t seem to get them organized.  Or in a way that’s cohesive and makes sense.  I think it’s time to move on, because I have no idea where I’m going with this.

My Rating:  So, I’m not actually going to rate this one.  Well, not yet.  I have no idea what to rate it because I have no idea how I really feel about it.  So for now, Likelike gets no rating.

Book Review: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Book: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Published May 2018 by HMH Books For Young Readers|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Re-telling

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.

I really liked this one.  It’s a Jane Eyre re-telling, and though it’s been ages since I’ve read Jane Eyre, I still remembered just enough to recognize it as a Jane Eyre re-telling.  I think, even if you haven’t read Jane Eyre, it’s a pretty interesting and good read.

If you like Across The Universe by Beth Revis, I think you’ll really like this one.  I was reminded of it the entire time I was reading this book, and I liked seeing the fleet of spaceships just waiting to get back to earth.  Brightly Burning isn’t really an exploration of earth or space or trying to find a place to live like Across The Universe is, but it’s still an interesting and intriguing read.

I think I was surprised it was a stand-alone.  I think I assumed it would be the first of a trilogy, and there are a lot of questions that aren’t answered.  There are a lot of things I’m curious about, like the fleet sent up to orbit Earth because of an ice-age.  How did we end up in an Ice Age?  How did they decide who would get sent up on spaceships?  Were there people left to die on Earth?  It’s never really explained (and if it was, then it obviously didn’t stick).  I did like the references to movies and books (like The Sound Of Music, which is the only one I’m remembering right now), and it’s clear that that some of the more…pop culture-y things did make their way to space (and hopefully back to earth).

I’m always hesitant with stand-alone sci-books (and also stand-alone paranormal and fantasy books) because I’m always nervous that I’ll be really confused about the world and what’s going on.  Sometimes, one book doesn’t seem like enough to build a world, but I thought we got a really good sense of Stella’s world and what it was like becoming a governess on the Rochester.  And while I did want more of her story, particularly with how things ended, I’m also glad that it was only one book.  Maybe the fact that it’s Jane Eyre in space made it work as a stand-alone.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and the combination of Jane Eyre and space worked really well together.  I do wish I knew more about the ice age that led to us going up to space, and what things are like on earth, but overall, I thought that we got a really good sense of Stella’s world that I didn’t mind that a lot of my questions weren’t answered.

Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Book: Warcross by Marie Lu

Published September 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|353 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Warcross #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. 

The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I really liked Warcross!  I liked Emika, and the world she lived in.

Emika is a great character, and she really is a girl just trying to survive.  It’s obvious Warcross means a lot to her, and it’s a pretty important part of her life.  A glitch really changed everything for her, and as it would turn out, things do not go the way she though they would.

Emika’s world was interesting, she does struggle.  But one of the things that kept me from truly loving Warcross was that the world (and Warcross) wasn’t explained very well.  I wasn’t quite clear what Warcross was or how it was played.  Obviously, it’s virtual reality, but it didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Maybe I wasn’t reading the book well enough, or maybe it didn’t make a lot of sense because I’m not a gamer.  I did like the descriptions when Emika and her team was actually going up against another team, and I thought that was well done.

Maybe I just wish that it translated to the rest of the book.

Worldbuilding aside, I did like Emika’s team as well.  Something about them reminded of the group of people we see in Six Of Crows.  It might be an odd comparison, and I’m not at all sure why these two reminded me of each other, but I’m just going to go with it.  I do wish we knew more about them.  Emika is not at all concerned about what’s going on with them, so because she doesn’t know a lot about them, we don’t know a lot about them.  I wish we did, but hopefully that will change in the next book.

Warcross was entertaining and fun and I feel like I went through it pretty fast.  I did understand some of the motivations behind certain characters, especially Hideo.  And he especially had this really interesting balance of good and bad, so I am curious to see how his story plays out.  Him, more than anyone else.  As interesting as he is, part of me doesn’t like him.

I can’t wait to read the sequel to see where things go!

4 stars.  I really liked Warcross, and I thought Emika and the impact Warcross had on both her and the world was interesting.  It’s entertaining and fun, and an especially great book for people who like video games and technology.  I didn’t love it, but it was still a fun read.