Book Review: The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

Book: The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

Published February 2020 by Houghton Mifflin|400 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

The Bachelorette goes to space in this gripping story about a young girl caught in a world of royal intrigue and lost love in her quest to save her family from ruin. Perfect for fans of Katharine McGee, Melissa de la Cruz, and Kiera Cass.

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, has only 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 who 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.

Fans of Katharine McGee and Kiera Cass will be dazzled by this world of lost love and royal intrigue.

I liked The Stars We Steal!  After reading (and really liking) Brightly Burning a couple of years ago, I was pretty excited about this book, and I wish I liked this book as much as her first one.

I thought Leo was interesting.  I completely get why she wants to help her family, and is hesitant to get married to do it.  I admire that she came up with a way to help not just them, but others.  But…when it came to her love life, she was so frustrating.  I mean, her first love comes back, and she loves him one minute, and hates him the next.  She flirts with him and gets jealous when he turns his attention to both her cousin and her sister.  She makes a half-hearted effort at the Valg Season, and when she does, she ends up breaking Daniel’s heart.  I really felt for Daniel.  Don’t get me wrong, I get that it was always Elliot, but it was just so horrible that she agreed to marry Daniel, knowing full well she wasn’t over Elliot.  Even after everything that happened with Elliot, she had the hardest time letting him go, and unfortunately, Daniel got hurt in the process.

Hopefully, everything works out for Leo, and it really seems like it wil at the end of the book.  Things are fine with her family and with Daniel, and I really hope they stay that way.

One thing I could never work out is if it’s set in the same world as Brightly Burning.  I mean, it was been a while since I’ve read it, but all of the ships made me feel like they are two very different stories set in the same world.  I could be completely wrong on that, but that was the impression I got.  Either way, it is pretty interesting to see a story entirely contained on the ship.

And Leo’s family.  I’m not a fan.  Her dad’s a mess, and her aunt is cruel.  If killing her own sister isn’t horrible, I don’t know what is.  Even though her cousin and sister come around, they have their moments too.  They were there for Leo when it counts, but there were a lot of obstacles along the way.

3 stars.  I liked The Stars We Steal, but I didn’t love it.

Book Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman And Jay Kristoff

Book: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published January 2018 by Ember|659 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Series: The Illuminae Files #2

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.”

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED GEMINA!  How is it possible to love the sequel even more than the original?  I don’t know but somehow, I did.

I just loved the story and how it’s going on both at the same time as- and right after- the events of Illuminae.  I loved Hanna a lot, and she reminded me of Kady in a lot of ways.  I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t sure about this book.  Sequels always make me a little nervous, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to live up to the expectations set by Illuminae.  But it really exceeded expectations!

I was also a little hesitant because I got attached to Kady and Ezra (but I was particularly attached to Kady) and I wasn’t sure about a book focusing on two new characters.  Again, I had nothing to worry about because I loved Hanna and Nik, and I was glad to see both Kady and Ezra show up.

And Aidan too!  How I managed to be fond of a crazy A.I. system, I don’t know, but I was glad that Aidan is back.  Granted, it’s in a slightly different form, but it was nice to see Aidan.

We also have the video surveillance guy back, and though we don’t know anything about him, I’m glad he’s back, watching surveillance videos and giving random commentary about what’s going on.

Like Illuminae, this is a really visual book!  While the placement of some of the text was still annoying to read, it wasn’t as annoying, and I think it’s because I was expecting it with this book.  Also, the multiverse stuff was really cool, and I liked seeing Universe A and Universe B side by side.  I liked seeing the comparison between the two, and how different but similar they are.

I also liked that instead of a deadly, PTSD-appearing virus, we have this parasitic alien-like creature.  It was creepy and horrifying but also really different and really cool.  I love that there was basically a Wikipedia-type page about it.  Obviously, not Wikipedia but a fictional version of it.  I just like how familiar the documents are- and yet, some of them are just so completely random.  I also love how they come together to tell the story, and I really can’t imagine this series being told any other way.  This is definitely a book you want to read in print!

5 stars.  I loved Gemina, and if for some reason, you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend it!  It’s a great story!

Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman And Jay Kristoff

Book: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published April 2017 by Ember|608 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: The Illuminae Files #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she’d ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

I really liked Illuminae and I’m glad I gave it another chance!  I tried reading it a few years ago, and had trouble getting through it because of the format.  I mostly gave it another chance because I had to read an epistolary novel of my choice for my final English essay, and of course, none of the books on the list given caught my interest.  I’m really glad we could pick a novel of our choice, and for some reason, I had my heart set on Illuminae.

I had an easier time with it this time around, and I don’t know if maybe I was in the mood for it, or if it was because I had to finish it in order to write my essay and do a video about it.

Random side note: based on the videos I watched (and I didn’t watch all of them), I was apparently the only one who didn’t pick a book from the list.

Back to the book, though.  I really liked it!  So much that I immediately bought Gemina and Obsidio, because I need to know what happens next.

It was interesting, because there are things we know that Kady doesn’t, and I was glad for her when she finds out that Ezra is alive.  I liked seeing all of the documents, and something I mentioned in both my essay and presentation was how the different documents came together to tell a much larger story, and how we were able to take a step back and see things more objectively because the type of documents used didn’t necessarily allow us to know what the characters were thinking at all times.

Kady’s interactions with Aidan really got to me though, and was easily the most beautifully written parts of the book.  I really loved Aidan, and I never would have expected that A.I. would be one of my favorite parts of the book!

I also liked how visual the book was!  Granted, trying to read some of the text was really frustrating because I had to turn the book into some really strange positions.  But we have Starry Night!  A heart!  Kady and Ezra together!  Kady by herself!  That was really cool to see.  So while some of the text placement was really frustrating to read, it also drew your attention to the page.  It is was like, what’s going on here?  What do they want us to draw our attention to?

This is a book that I think is best read in print, and it’s because of how visual it is.  I mean, you could go with the audio book, but I feel like you’re going to lose a lot by doing that.  I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work that went into designing each page, especially with all of the blueprints and schematics.  I commend not just Kaufman and Kristoff, but everyone who worked on the book for writing both a cool story and making it look really cool.

4 stars.  I didn’t love it, and I don’t know why, but I still really liked Illuminae.  I am really glad I gave it another chance!

Book Review: The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte

Book: The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte

Published March 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|432 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn’t a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.

But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn’t want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death and mend their broken bond. But they’re pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up–and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed.

I liked this one!  After reading Four Dead Queens last year, and really liking it, I knew I had to read this one.

Even though I didn’t like The Vanishing Deep as much as Four Dead Queens, it was still an enjoyable read.  This book was told over a very short period of time, so if you’re not a fan of books told in the span of one day, this might not be the book for you.  I liked seeing Tempe race against time, trying to figure everything out.

I completely get why she’d want to revive her sister.  After they lost their parents, I get why she would want answers.  I think I would want answers too.  Tempe gets answers, but I don’t think they were the ones she was looking for.  Looking back, it wasn’t that surprising, but when I was reading the book, I just wanted to know more.  I liked seeing how things unraveled.

Not surprisingly, things aren’t what they seem, and Tempe and Elysea learn what happened to their parents, and the truth behind the revival process.  I don’t want to give it away, but it was interesting and horrifying at the same time.

The underwater ruins seemed really cool, and I wanted to know more about how things got to the point where the Great Waves destroyed everything.  I’m curious about how they survived on the water for…however long it’s been like that.  I feel like it wasn’t mentioned but maybe I just don’t remember it, if it was mentioned.  When the book takes place over the span of one day, you’re not going to get a lot of details.  And it’s also a stand-alone, so when the book ends, that’s it.

While I’m curious to know more, and I wonder what things are like for the characters after the book ends, I’m also glad there aren’t more.  It is perfectly contained in one book, and like her previous book, there are plenty of stories you could write in this world.  It’s another book I’d love to see as a movie- with 24 hours to get things taken care of, it would make for a fast-paced, action-packed movie.

3 stars.  I liked The Vanishing Deep.  While I wanted to know more about Tempe’s world, I also thought what we learned was horrifying and interesting.

Book Review: A House Of Rage And Sorrow by Sangu Mandanna

Book: A House Of Rage And Sorrow by Sangu Mandanna

Published September 2019 by Sky Pony Press|336 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: The Celestial Trilogy #2

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy

One kingdom. One crown. One family.

“Maybe it’s time the great House of Rey came to an end. After all, what are we now? Just a house of rage and sorrow.”

Esmae once wanted nothing more than to help her golden brother win the crown of Kali but that dream died with her best friend. Alexi broke her heart, and she vowed to destroy him for it. And with her sentient warship Titania beside her, how can she possibly fail?

As gods, beasts, and kingdoms choose sides, Alexi seeks out a weapon more devastating than even Titania. Past lives threaten the present. Old enemies claim their due. And Esmae cannot outrun the ghosts and the questions that haunt her. What really happened to her father? What was the third boon her mother asked of Amba? For in the shadows, lurking in wait, are secrets that will swallow her whole.

The House of Rey is at war. And the entire galaxy will bleed before the end.

I LOVED this book so much!  This was the book I didn’t know I was in the mood for but was glad I read it.  I definitely read it at the right time.

Esmae was so easy to relate to, and the grief and rage she felt the entire book was so easy to relate to.  It’s been a couple of year since my grandma died, but I’ve been missing her a lot lately, and this book really hit home right now.  How Esmae felt was so really, and I was a sobbing mess by the end of the book.  I feel like it happens so rarely now, but the rage and grief was there throughout the whole book.  The events of the last book really changed things for Esmae, and she is no longer the person she was in the first book.

I actually loved that we see if throughout the book.  It would have been very easy for it to not be included, but the author didn’t shy away from it.  It was really refreshing to see how present and visible it was.  There were so many different paragraphs and sentences that really resonated with me, and this book is so much better than the first book.

I really liked the first book, but this one really blew me away.  I felt like we really got into the story, and there are so many lies and so much betrayal that I didn’t know what to expect.  You think you know what’s going on, but the more time you spend in this world, the more you realize that you don’t know what’s real and what’s not.  This series is definitely under-rated, and I really wish it got more attention.

I loved that we got a few chapters from Titania’s POV!  I really like the relationship Titania and Esmae have, and Titania is a great character.  I know she’s a sentient ship, but Titania is pretty awesome, and I loved seeing things through her eyes.  That aspect of it made me think of the Binti novellas by Nnedi Okorafor.  Those are great reads, so I definitely recommend them if you haven’t read them.

As much as I loved this book, there are a couple of things I didn’t like.

For one thing, I kept forgetting that the book was set in space, and all of the places mentioned were individual planets, and not neighboring countries or territories.

And two, I couldn’t picture the different planets.  At all.  There’s not a lot of description, and because you’re seeing roughly one place on each planet, there’s a lot that you’re not seeing on the planets.  I think that’s why it felt like the places were neighboring countries instead of planets.

This story is definitely more about the characters and what they’re fighting for, but I would have liked a little more description of the places we see.  Still, it will be interesting to see how things play out in the last book.  There’s a lot going on, but I’m glad we have a list of characters at the beginning, because there are a lot of people to keep track of.  It was easier in this book, and I think it’s because of that cast of characters at the beginning.

5 stars.  I loved A House Of Rage And Sorrow, and this series is worth reading.

Book Review: Wires And Nerve, Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer, Illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Book: Wires And Nerve, Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer, Illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Published January 2019 by Square Fish|240 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Wires And Nerve #1

Genre: YA Graphic Novel- Sci-Fi/Fantasy

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new,action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold.When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder, Cress, Scarlet, Winter, and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

I really liked Wires And Nerve!  I keep wanting to call it Wires And Nerves, for some reason, but that’s definitely not right.

I loved the Cinder series, which is why I picked this book up ages ago.  It’s been on my book shelf for literal years, and since I’m in this mood to read all of the books on my bookshelf that I haven’t read, I knew it was time to read it.  I didn’t like it nearly as much, but I still really liked it.

Iko, of coure, is awesome, and the format was perfect for her story.  I’m glad we get a book about Iko!  I loved seeing what she was up to, and she really is perfect for the job she had to do in this book.  I keep forgetting that Iko is an android, because she has so much heart and personality.  One of Cinder’s guards has no problem reminding her that she’s not human, and I feel like it definitely got to her.  I wish we saw a little more of that, but maybe in the next one.  I’m pretty sure we would have gotten that had this book been a novel, but I’m also having a hard time picturing this book as a novel.

I did read this book in one sitting, which wasn’t a surprise because it’s a graphic novel.  It did work well for this particular story, and I can’t really put my finger on it.  It just worked.  Even though we see what’s going on with all of the other characters, part of me wished we spent more time with them.  I know we’ll get glimpses of them in the next one, and I can always go back and re-read the original series.  It just wasn’t the same, now that they’re all off doing their own things because all is relatively right with the world (and moon).

As much as I liked it, I also had a hard time getting into it.  I don’t know if it’s because we’re seeing the ever after, and all of the work that goes into, or if I’m just not in the mood for it, but I had a hard time loving it the way I loved the Lunar Chronicles.

It’s still great, and I definitely recommend it, especially if you love the Lunar Chronicles and haven’t read the graphic novel yet.

4 stars.  I really liked Wires And Nerve, but I didn’t love it as much as I wanted or hoped to.

Book Review: Verify by Joelle Charbonneau

Book: Verify by Joelle Charbonneau

Published September 2019 by HarperTeen|320 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Verify #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Meri Beckley lives in a world without lies. When she turns on the news, she hears only the facts. When she swipes the pages of her online textbooks, she reads only the truth. When she looks at the peaceful Chicago streets, she feels the pride everyone in the country feels about the era of unprecedented hope and prosperity over which the government presides.

But when Meri’s mother is killed, Meri suddenly has questions that no one else seems to be asking. And when she tries to uncover her mother’s state of mind in her last weeks, she finds herself drawn into a secret world full of facts she’s never heard and a history she didn’t know existed.

Suddenly, Meri is faced with a choice between accepting the “truth” she has been taught or embracing a world the government doesn’t want anyone to see—a world where words have the power to change the course of a country, and the wrong word can get Meri killed.

I didn’t like Verify at all!  Don’t get me wrong, the idea is cool, and as a reader, I loved the message that words are powerful, but the story didn’t work for me.

I wasn’t particularly interested in Meri, or what happened to her.  She seemed to come around to rebellion pretty fast, even though she really struggled with it.  I wish she had struggled with a little bit more, because it felt really rushed and fast.

It also felt like it happened over the period of a few days, and if that’s the case, she went from knowing absolutely nothing about this group to being the leader of a revolution in a matter of days.  I really wish it were more clear the period of time in which this book is taking place.

I had no sense of the timeline, and when this book was supposed to be taking place.  It seems to be taking place decades later, but it was not clear how far in the future we were.  It also wasn’t clear how we got to the point that they were able to erase words to the point that no one knows how they’re pronounced, and all in the span of a few decades?  How were they able to change history that quickly, especially because there are going to be people who remember words like verify?  Something about that didn’t sit quite right with me.

Clearly, anything having to do with time didn’t make sense to me.  I feel like I didn’t miss anything as far as that goes, but I feel like a lot more could have been explained in this book.

Also…how is there no bookish black market in this world?  Like, I love the Great Library series by Rachel Caine, where the Library Of Alexandria is around and in control of all books and knowledge.  There’s a black market and burners, and it’s just so weird to me that people were so willing to give up prized editions of books instead of said books circulating some sort of black market.

I know there’s this group hiding things like The Federalist papers, and it’s possible there are other groups doing the same thing, to varying degrees of success.  But no black market for books?  Really?  I find that a little disappointing.

And the revolution Meri finds herself in charge of?  It was really thrown together, and it’s no wonder it didn’t seem to work.  It felt like they wanted to do something but didn’t want to put a lot of effort or thought into it, and just went with the first thing that came to mind.

I really feel like I can’t make sense of this world.  I am having a hard time getting over that, because it didn’t feel like it was put together very well.  Or at least, in a way that got me interested.  I feel like my review is all over the place…much like this book, so I think I’ll wrap it up with my rating.

1 star.  This definitely wasn’t the book for me, though I liked some of the ideas in it.

Book Review: Day Zero by Kelly deVos

Book: Day Zero by Kelly deVos

Published November 2019 by Inkyard Press|432 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Day Zero Duology #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Thriller

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

I really struggled with Day Zero.  I had a hard time getting through it, and I was pretty close to actually not finishing the book.  I liked the ending, but getting there was challenging.

My main issue with Day Zero was the beginning.  Things were slow and confusing, and the world didn’t make sense to me.

Jinx lives in a world where there are two political parties- the Spark and the Opposition.  It seemed like the Democrat/Republican parties were around before giving way to the Spark/Opposition parties.  I feel like we can’t say that definitively, because I also felt like we had no world-building or background on the world that Jinx and her family lives in.  I couldn’t begin to tell you how things go to a point where the Spark and Opposition were duelling it out in an election.

Even at the end of the book, I had a hard time telling you who was responsible for what, and what they did and why they did.  It was a little more clear towards the end, but I was massively confused at the beginning of the book because it wasn’t clearly explained what was going on.

And, as much as I hate saying this, I wasn’t a fan of the names of either group.  It felt too simple- almost like they were placeholders in a draft that was never changed.  Of course, the two parties can be called whatever the author wants to call them, but I think I just wanted something cooler.

I also had a hard time keeping the characters straight, and how they were all connected.  I figured it out in the end, but it took a while to get there.

Actually, I think that describes this book pretty well.  It took a long time for anything to interest me, and even though I did like the book in the end, it was too late at that point, because I didn’t care about what happened to the characters.

Except for Charles, because I really liked him, and I want him to be okay.  I really want him to be okay in the next book.

As for the rest of the characters?  I didn’t particularly care about them or what happened to them.  I felt like I only knew them on a surface level, and even though you could probably say the same about Charles, I really connected to him more than I did the other characters, and I’m not sure why.

2 stars.  I liked the ending but it wasn’t enough to give Day Zero a higher rating.  I was too confused at the beginning, and I didn’t really care about what happened to most of the characters.

Book Review: The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah

Book Review: The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah

Published October 2019 by Disney-Hyperion|320 pages

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

Series: The Light At The Bottom Of The World #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.

The Light At The Bottom Of The World sounded pretty cool!  I mean, I can’t remember coming across a book that takes place underwater that’s not about mermaids.  The concept is pretty cool, and that drew me in.

I like that because earth is a terrible place to live in the distant future, we’re living underwater instead of heading to space.  I already mentioned not remembering coming across something like that before.  If I have, then I obviously don’t remember.  I read a lot and it’s amazing I can remember what I read a few months ago, much less years ago.

Back to the book, though.  Living underwater has its consequences, and you hear about people losing hope and getting sick because of it.  It’s interesting people went underwater but we make it work despite the horrible conditions earth is in.

Even though I liked the concept and surviving underwater is pretty cool, I wasn’t as interested in this book as I thought I would be.  It’s not the first time I’ve picked up a book because it sounds cool, read it, and find that I’m not that into it. It definitely won’t be the last.

I get why she’s trying to get to her father, and I don’t blame her.  But for the life of me, I could not tell you what happened to him.  I know she finds out where she is to get him, but I could not tell you what happened to him after that.  Considering she spends the whole book trying to get to him, you’d think what happened to him would stand out more.

I had a hard time getting into this book.  The world was interesting, but I wanted more.  It’s underwater London, but I had a hard time picturing it.  I kept forgetting we were underwater, and even though it seemed like it would be this oppressive place full of despair and hopelessness, it didn’t feel that way to me.  Things weren’t what they seemed, and we definitely find that out.  But I still kept forgetting we were underwater, and it felt like it could have been happening anywhere.

I just didn’t feel invested in Leyla’s mission to get her dad.  As bad as it might be, it was just hard for me to care or be interested in what happened.  Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for this book when I read it.  Maybe I would have felt this way no matter when I read it.  We’ll never know, least of all me, but I did finish it, so it did keep me reading.

2 stars.  I wanted to like this book more because I liked the concept but I had a hard time with this book.

Book Review: DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

Published June 2019 by Alfred K Knopf Books For Young Readers|448 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Lifelike #2

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Lemon Fresh has seen better days.

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.

Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.

And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.

Honestly, I don’t know what I think about this book.  I felt the same about the first book in this series, and that continued with this book.

I liked Lemon Fresh, and she has an interesting time in this book.  It was the same with Cricket, but I didn’t really care about what happened with Eve.  It was interesting to see how the groups that Cricket and Lemon Fresh ended up had so many connections to each other.  Personally, I wish we saw more of that but with how things went with Lemon Fresh, I’m not that surprised we didn’t.  And I did feel for Lemon Fresh, because I wanted a different story for her.

I think Lemon Fresh was my favorite to follow.  Hers is the one I remember more, though Cricket had his own challenges.  I felt like we didn’t get enough of Eve for me to have strong feelings either way.

I know people love Jay Kristoff, and this series, but I had a really hard time getting through this book.  I could only read a couple chapters at a time before needing to put it down and do something else.  I felt like it took me forever to get through this book.  I struggled to get through Lifelike when I tried to re-read before this one, and I remember having a hard time getting through it when I read Lifelike for book club ages ago.

I think I read this one because I wanted to know what happened next.  For some reason, Eve’s family made me think of the Romanov’s, and how people think Anastasia survived her family’s execution.  Part of me is wondering if it’s just coincidence, or if there is some inspiration there.  Either way, I wanted more about that, and it didn’t happen.  Which is fine, because I’m glad we followed Lemon Fresh and Cricket.  Still, I would have liked a chapter or two from Eve’s perspective.

Both Lemon Fresh and Cricket narrate, but it didn’t really work for me.  I thought it was confusing and their chapters sounded exactly the same.  It took a while to figure out who was narrating, and by the time I got settled into who was narrating, it switched, and I’d start the process all over again.  Maybe I’m just really used to books where it’s obvious who’s narrating.

I’m not sure if I’m going to going to finish the series.  Part of me does want to know what happens next, but I don’t know that I’m invested enough to keep going.  It’s an interesting world, and I wish we knew more about what life was like before this world started, and what life is like everywhere else.  It seems pretty contained to a Southern California-type area, at least from what I can gather from the map.  So it makes me wonder what it’s like everywhere else in the U.S.

2 stars.  Overall, Deviate is just okay.  I really liked Lemon Fresh’s story, but I don’t know if it’s enough to keep me reading.