Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Taking on the Dead by Annie Walls

Taking on the Dead by Annie Walls
Summary (from Goodreads): Life for Kansas was perfect until the day the world changed. She has been hiding out for four years in solitude. It's the only way to survive. The only way not to draw the living dead. Helping a small group of people, she learns the new world might not be what she assumes. Venturing out of her refuge and comfort zone, she meets Rudy, who helps her find a greater purpose. She realizes that the world has moved on without her. Only it's not what she expects. Her knowledge of the living dead grows and only makes her more curious as humanity continues to hang on by a thread. While on her search for answers she finds comfort in new friendships and love, but her past seems as if it will haunt her forever.

Kansas takes it upon herself to help other survivors, which would be easy if the famished were the only obstacles.

In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is emotional as much as it is horrifyingly gripping.

*Not intended for a young audience. Mature content.*
This book is in dire need of an editor. The author credits an editor at the start of the book, but outside of running spellcheck, I'm not sure what that person did at all. I'm by no means an expert in grammar (obviously), but if I'm noticing mistakes, that means they are pretty bad.

Kan does a lot of stupid and out of character stuff. It's really hard to go into detail without giving away spoilers.
I will say, for someone who needs her wits about her constantly, she sure does get drunk and high quite a bit. It's one thing when she's in the secured town area, it's another when she's on her own and doing so could easily cost her her life.

Stealthy, unnecessary love triangle.

(casual?) Racism: Half way through the book, Kan meets two characters. One is skinny and knows a lot of martial arts, the other has dreadlocks and an entire mouth full of gold teeth. Can you guess the stereotypical ethnicities of those two?

Too many Zombieland references. I don't mind pop culture references in novels (or tv, movies, games, etc...), but if you're going to reference pop culture, you should go big or leave it alone. Just referencing one, over and over again, (sometimes just blatantly) is just cringeworthy.

I did like the city where Kan ends up for a good portion of the book. It's incredibly thought out, detailed, and captivating. Not a place I'd ever actually like to visit in person, but wow. Very well done.

There are certain ideas and concepts that really shine, but it's very, very muddy getting there. I wouldn't recommend this unless you are looking specifically for a romance set during a zombie apocalypse.

sexual assault
drug and alcohol use

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach

Fortune'a Pawn by Rachel Bach Summary: (from the author's official site) Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day - but not just yet.

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn't misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she's found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn't give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.


Bit of Background:
Bought this on sale from Amazon. I normally don't go for Sci-Fi or Romance, but the premises and summary were very intriguing.

There's a little bit of insta-love. I did find the progression of Devi and Rupert's to be believable, until a couple of weeks in and the two are professing their love for each other. Especially after Devi is set up to prefer temporary companionship. There's also not a whole lot of information given about Rupert. I was able to understand Devi's physical attraction to him, but I don't understand why she loves him after such a short while.

The action scenes read in slo-mo. I'm not a big action reader, so this may just be me.

Devi gets saved just a time or two too many. It's really the last saving at the very end that bothers me the most. There's a bit of a consent issue with it. Nothing big, bad, and horrible, but I feel it could have been slightly different and I would not have the same problem with it.

The above being said, I absolutely adore everything else about this book. The characters are well developed and thought out. While Rupert is a bit illusive, you can see everyone else has a story just beneath the surface. The worlds building (yes, plural!) is well done. I enjoyed the different governments angles.

There's romance, but it's pretty light compared to everything else in the book. Had I not read in other places that this book was intended to be a Sci-Fi Action Romance, I wouldn't even consider labeling this in the romance genre. All of the cross-genres were well balanced.

I LOVE this book and plan on rereading it at some point. It has the right balance of action, world building, character development, and even romance. This book is just pure fun. Highly recommended!
I even bought Honor's Knight, the second book in the series, at retail price when it came out. (And yes, I've already read it!)

Rupert. I just don't know how I feel about the name.

I don't like giving fraction ratings, but I waffled between 8 and 9 for too long. 8.5 will have to suffice.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Summary (from the author's official site): Uglies is set in a world in which everyone has an operation when they turn sixteen, making them supermodel beautiful. Big eyes, full lips, no one fat or skinny. You might think this is a good thing, but it’s not. Especially if you’re one of the Smokies, a bunch of radical teens who’ve decided they want to keep their own faces. (How anti-social of them.)

Uglies is a trilogy-plus-one, with Extras being a “companion novel” and told from a different point of view. All four Uglies books have been New York Times bestsellers!


Bit of Background: I've had my eye on this book for a couple of years. I held off because it was never quite the right price for me to jump on. I ended up purchasing it because it was part of Humble Bundle's "Humble eBook Bundle 3". Full disclosure - I only bought that bundle for this book.

The characters aren't the greatest and none are particularly fully fleshed out. In the interest of not giving away any spoilers, I'm only going to mention the two characters that really stood out to me the most, Tally and Shay. Tally is our very reluctant protagonist. She's pushed into every single major decision. Given the setting (everyone is brainwashed) and her age (16), this is believable. She does redeem herself in the end, but I do still take issue that her first turning point only happens because she met a boy she likes. Tally's friend, Shay, starts off as an interesting character. She has a mind of her own in a brainwashed world. Unfortunately, towards the end of the book, it became clear that she only exists to be plot points for Tally and not her own character. Every action, feeling, and thought she has exists only to make Tally do something or have a reaction, but not in a good, inspiring way.
There's a bit of romance out of no where that veers into insta-love territory, but it doesn't go anywhere at this point.

While the characters have a bit to be desired, the world building is fantastic. I loved the setting. I want to see more of it. I want to know how they reached the conclusion that a brainwashed and "perfect" pretty society was the best option. I also really liked how the book ended. I didn't particularly care for Tally throughout most of the book, but she came into her own in the last couple of chapters. She only has one idea that is completely her own in the whole book and it's the right one. I want to see her continue to develop.

Minor Quibble: The official summaries of this book are really bad. I'm not even sure how this book even came onto my radar, but had I just read the summaries - I would have completely passed over this book.

Verdict: 7/10
I really enjoyed this book. It's not particularly thought provoking, but it has an interesting world that's been created and is a nice fluffy read for those days where you just want to relax. I immediately bought the second book, Pretties, after reading it.