Showing posts with label science fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science fiction. Show all posts

Monday, July 25, 2022

Review: Eversion by Alastair Reynolds


Eversion by Alastair Reynolds
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2022
Paperback. 432 pages.

About Eversion:

"From the master of the space opera, Alastair Reynolds, comes a dark, mind-bending SF adventure spread across time and space, Doctor Silas Coade has been tasked with keeping his crew safe as they adventure across the galaxy in search of a mysterious artifact, but as things keep going wrong, Silas soon realizes that something more sinister is at work, and this may not even be the first time it's happened. 

In the 1800s, a sailing ship crashes off the coast of Norway. In the 1900s, a Zepellin explores an icy canyon in Antarctica. In the far future, a spaceship sets out for an alien artifact. Each excursion goes horribly wrong. And on every journey, Dr. Silas Coade is the physician, but only Silas seems to realize that these events keep repeating themselves. And it's up to him to figure out why and how. And how to stop it all from happening again."

This was the first books I've read by Alastair Reynolds, and it is definitely not going to be the last. Based on what I've seen about Reynold's other books, Eversion didn't end being anything like what I expected it to be, but I really loved it and was captivated by his masterful storytelling and ability to take my mind on a trip I hadn't expected. Eversion is going to be a hard book to review because so much of it banks on the reader's gradual discovery and slow dawning of what's going on. For that reason, I'll give a basic rundown of what the book's about and then try to keep things a bit more vague when it comes to details. 

In Eversion, Doctor Silas Coade is in charge of making sure his crew stay healthy and safe while they venture out across the galaxy to find a mysterious, unknown artifact whose purpose is not fully known. The weird part is Doctor Silas' role in a myriad of disasters that occur across time and crews who are all trying to discover some unknown artifact. Something extremely eerie and uncanny is going on, and Doctor Silas seems to know something is wrong, but he can't quite put his finger on just what the problem is...

This concept was so fascinating to me and this entire book felt like a slow burn of realization and wonder. We start out in the 1800s on a sailing ship with a crew embarking on a new mission to find the missing artifact that seems to be the center of this entire book. This is the first time we get to meet Doctor Silas Coade himself, as well as the rest of the crew, including Coronel Ramos, who quickly became a favorite of mine, Captain Van Vugt, the lead researcher/mathematical genius Dupin, Lady Ada Cossile, the instigator of the entire journey, Topolsky, and a few more. I really liked getting to know this entire crew and found that, with the exception of Topolsky, I found myself growing fond of quite a number of them. I thought Reynolds did a really good job of developing them and creating very consistent personalities that made sense in all scenes and scenarios. I particularly liked getting to see the relationship develop between Silas and Ramos and found scenes featuring the two of them some of the most compelling. Silas is an especially compelling character that I found myself easily rooting for and wanting to know more about, as well as eager to see how he would handle each new situation and what new actions he might undertake and/or discover. 

Reynolds also excelled in developing an atmosphere that was at times creeping and full of the unknown, while at others time full of potential and the had a constant air of discovery. I love sci-fi and horror, and I love adventure and stories of exploration,  so the combination of these elements all worked absolutely perfectly for me. Reynolds has a great narrative style that gives readers just enough to keep them hooked on each and every word without giving too much away. I always had some sort of inkling that something was off or was going to happen, but I never knew exactly what it was going to be. This is one fo those books that really thrives off of the reader slowly making a realization and then looking back to earlier parts of the book and having those big light bulb moments that suddenly make sense. I think this would be a book that's a lot of fun to re-read and discover all those tiny moments that suddenly mean something else, given the context of what has been discovered later on in the story. 

Eversion has a bit of a slow burn to start, but as you find yourself slowly becoming more and more immersed in the story the pacing really starts to pick up and continues fairly consistently from there. Things may feel as if they are going to be repetitive, but Reynolds does a great job in making sure that that is not the case and that there is always something new to discover and experience. This all might sound a bit weird and vague, and I apologize for that, but if you read the book I promise it'll all make sense. I also found Reynold's prose much more descriptive and thoughtful than I expected, and I don't mean that to say I thought the prose would be bad or simple, but it just isn't quite what I expected from this sci-fi novel and I think it fit the settings very well. 

If I had to say what this book most reminded me of, I'd say to it has elements and the occasional atmosphere of Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, mixed with the voyage and discovery of any classic adventure–maybe some Journey to the Center of the Earth?–and a touch of any modern sci-fi that really plays with new technology and considers what its role will be in human life. I also wouldn't consider it very far amiss to call this a bit of a mystery as Silas works under great pressure to figure out why things keep going afoul in his missions. 

Overall, I've given Eversion five stars! I thoroughly enjoyed this sci-fi/horror/adventure/mystery story and can't wait to dive into more of Alastair Reynold's work. 

*I received a copy of Eversion courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon |

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Friday Face-Off: Space Murder Mystery

  Friday Face Off New

Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme at Books by Proxy. Join us every Friday as we pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.  You can find a list of upcoming topics at Lynn's Books.

This week's topic is:
Space Murder Mystery

Space murder mysteries are probably some of my favorite books to read, so I thought this was a particularly fun topic. Oddly, I found that there weren't nearly as many straight space murder mysteries in my 'read' library as I thought. The first one I thought of, though, was One Way by S.J. Morden, which I loved and is absolutely perfect for this topic. It's a locked room murder mystery style story about eight astronauts living on Mars where–you guessed it–people start ending up dead. As far as I know, this series has finished out at only two books, which is a huge bummer to me, but I really enjoyed both of those two books and would absolutely welcome another one. This series doesn't have very many cover variations, so I shared the covers available for both book #1, One Way, and book #2, No Way. Let's check them out!

One Way (Frank Kittridge #1)
One WayOne Way

No Way (Frank Kittridge #2)
No Way (Frank Kitteridge #2)No Way (Frank Kitteridge #2)Билет в никуда (Фрэнк Киттридж #2)

My choice(s):
I love all of the reds and warm tones in these covers, which fits perfectly for the Mars setting of this series. I love the classic feel of the original One Way cover, but something about the eeriness and sheer emptiness/loneliness of the original cover for No Way really grabs me as well. These are all great covers, and I wish there were more to compare! I also wish there would be another book in this series, but alas...

What cover(s) do you like the most?

Monday, July 27, 2020

Review: Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis

Axiom's End
Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis
St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 21st, 2020
Hardcover. 384 pages

About Axiom's End:

"Truth is a human right.  

It’s fall 2007. A well-timed leak has revealed that the US government might have engaged in first contact. Cora Sabino is doing everything she can to avoid the whole mess, since the force driving the controversy is her whistleblower father. Even though Cora hasn’t spoken to him in years, his celebrity has caught the attention of the press, the Internet, the paparazzi, and the government—and with him in hiding, that attention is on her. She neither knows nor cares whether her father’s leaks are a hoax, and wants nothing to do with him—until she learns just how deeply entrenched her family is in the cover-up, and that an extraterrestrial presence has been on Earth for decades.  

Realizing the extent to which both she and the public have been lied to, she sets out to gather as much information as she can, and finds that the best way for her to uncover the truth is not as a whistleblower, but as an intermediary. The alien presence has been completely uncommunicative until she convinces one of them that she can act as their interpreter, becoming the first and only human vessel of communication. Their otherworldly connection will change everything she thought she knew about being human—and could unleash a force more sinister than she ever imagined."

Axiom's End is a first contact book not quite like any I've ever read before, and I love the new approach Ellis took with this type of story.

Most of us have probably read or watched some form of a First Contact story at some point in our lives, and most of those tend to follow somewhat similar general ideas about human reactions, hostilities, and so on. Axiom's End diverged a bit from this path by introducing a First Contact experience on Earth that introduced some new possibilities about what aliens could be like, not necessarily physically, but mentally and socially. I don't want to give away about what to expect, but I will say that I really appreciated the attitude and approach Ellis attributed to the alien beings in this book because it took me a little by surprise in a few places in a way that made me think "Huh, yeah, that's a good point."

Axiom's End not only tackles the big First Contact topic, but it also tackles an issue that is extremely relevant to issues occurring today, such as the right of the public to information and truth from the government. In Axiom's End, Cora's father is a sort of whistleblower figure (think Edward Snowden style) about alien contact and exploration, which has also made him a rather wanted figure by the government and an extraordinarily controversial one--which has also made life difficult for Cora, her mother, aunt, and two siblings. 

The main protagonist, Cora, is one of those characters that I never really particularly connected with, but that still managed to hold my interest and develop a level of feelings for her that made me want to continue following her journey. Cora's life hasn't been the easiest, but she has a certain level of dogged resilience that keeps her going and gives her a strong personality. A big portion of this book is focused on Cora's characters and her relationship with someone else, known as Ampersand (you'll meet them soon enough in the story!), and I think this focus was really the driver of the story. Yes, there's a big focus on the aliens and how humans will react to and handle that, but there's also a big component that is about communication and connecting with those around us, whoever they are or wherever they're from. This sentiment really drove a lot of the story in a lot of different ways, and I think Ellis did a great job conveying that.

Axiom's End is set in our world, but back in 2007. I thought this time period was very carefully and cleverly chosen because it really seemed to fit everything going on. Ellis was careful to include carefully picked references and nods to popular culture of the time, as well as making sure to establish political and economic considerations of the time period that worked well with the story.  

The only drawbacks I had with Axiom's End were a few areas where the info-dumping, which came in the form of complex scientific ideas and theories most often, was a bit overmuch and the fact that I just didn't quite connect with the story or characters as much as I'd have liked. There's enough to keep engagement and create a compelling story, but my heart just didn't feel as into this book, which sort of left me feeling like I was at a small distance from everything going on most of the time. Neither of these are deal-breaking issues, but still important enough that I wanted to make sure I mentioned them. 

Overall, I've given Axiom's End four stars! I just recently discovered that this is going to be a series, which I'm glad for because I am eager to see what's coming next. If you enjoy First Contact stories, aliens, conspiracies, or just some good sci-fi, then be sure to check out Axiom's End

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Review: No Way by S.J. Morden

*No Way will be published Tuesday, February 26th!* 

No Way
No Way by S.J. Morden (Frank Kitteridge #2)
Orbit, 2019
Paperback. 416 pages.

Note: This is the sequel to the first book, One Way, and although I will have no spoilers from this book, there will be things mentioned that may act as inadvertent spoilers for the first book. I never give specific spoilers, but I just want to give a head's up if you haven't read the first book.

About No Way:

"'In the sequel to the terrifying science fiction thriller, One Way, returning home from Mars may mean striking a deal with the very people who abandoned him. 

They were sent to build a utopia, but all they found on Mars was death. 

Frank Kitteridge has been abandoned. But XO, the greedy--and ultimately murderous--corporate architects of humanity's first Mars base made a costly mistake when they left him there: they left him alive. Using his skills and his wits, he's going to find a way back home even if it kills him. 

Little does he know that Mars isn't completely empty. Just over the mountain, there's another XO base where things are going terribly, catastrophically wrong. And when the survivors of that mission find Frank, they're going to want to take even the little he has away from him. 

If there's anything in Frank's favor, it's this: he's always been prepared to go to the extremes to get the job done. That's how he ended up on Mars in the first place. It just might be his ticket back."

No Way picks up almost immediately after the events of One Way and I would want it no other way. The intensity and the excitement are just as high as they were at the end of One Way, although this time Frank has some new high stakes to deal with that are vastly different than what he death with before--though they are just as deadly.

Frank is now alone on Mars--or so he initially thinks--and must take on all of the responsibilities around the base in order to keep himself alive for NASA's arrival in order for him to potentially go back to Earth one day. This, of course, includes cleaning up all of the mess leftover from the violent events that occurred at the end of the first book in order to keep XO happy and to ensure Frank is able to safely leave Mars. Predictably, nothing can possibly go smoothly on this dry, lonely planet, and Frank is suddenly dealing with even more stress than he already was.

Frank remains the same 'too-old-for-this-shit' sort of man that he was in One Way, and I appreciate how consistent Morden has kept his personality. Frank has definitely had major character development throughout both books, but the core things that make him who he is, such as his somewhat standoff-ish nature and his lack of a charismatic presence, continue to shine and make him an oddly and uniquely compelling character. I also enjoyed seeing Frank's interactions with the NASA crew that arrives, as it really put him in an uncomfortable position, what with XO still essentially controlling what he can say and Frank's own moral dilemmas with the information he holds onto. I liked that Morden took into account that Frank, who had spent months alone on Mars, would have some issues being suddenly inundated with an entire crew of new people, along with his trauma from the events of the previous book. I liked that Morden focused on the mental components of the entire ordeal in addition to the rest of the plot.

I mentioned in my review for the first book that the author trained as a planetary geologist, and his passion and dedication to the more technical aspects related to this story continue to shine in this book. I'm no rocket scientist myself and I can't say I have much knowledge of the specifics of how surviving on Mars would work so I can't professionally comment on it, but it appears his research is really well done and it adds so many layers of authenticity and realism that make this book all the more compelling. When something feels real, the stakes always feel higher and more personal and that's exactly what happened here. I think one of the things hat makes these books so captivating and chilling is that it all feels eerily believable. I do believe that there are people who would create companies that have such little compassion for human beings and would put them in dangerous situations.

No Way is the sort of book that you can't put down. Morden has true skill in knowing how to craft each chapter and event in such a way that makes the reader fully engaged with what's happening in the present, while also constantly yearning to find out what is going to happen next. He has a simple yet sophisticated prose that is filled with foreshadowing and excellent descriptions.

Overall, I've given No Way 4.75 stars (rounded up to five on Goodreads, etc.)! This is such an exciting series and I haven't been able to tear myself from the pages. I don't know if there is a third book in the works, but I desperately hope that there is because I will absolutely read it! 

*I received a review copy of No Way courtesy of Orbit books in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Rosewater by Tade Thompson
Orbit, 2018
Paperback. 464 pages.

About Rosewater:
"Tade Thompson's Rosewater is the start of an award-winning, cutting edge trilogy set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices. 

Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers. 

Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn't care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future."

This was a fascinating book! However, this has proven to be a difficult review to write because it's hard to fully explain how things in this world work without writing pages and pages of information, but I'll do my best to discuss the structure itself and give you an idea of what to expect.

Rosewater is one of those books where the reader is thrown into things without a lot of explanation. As the novel progresses, the author slowly unfolds more and more information about both what is occurring in the present timeline as well as what occurred in the past that has built up to present events. I'm often mixed on my opinion of books that throw the reader into too much without providing much background information about anything that's going on, largely because I then often find myself focusing too much on being lost and not the story itself--but not so in this case. To prevent this, Thompson feeds the reader just enough information to keep them grounded without ever giving away too much or overwhelming the reader. Even though I felt a bit confused or uncertain at times, I was surprised at how sucked into this story I was--I didn't want to put the book down, and whenever I did I was yearning to pick it back up again and find out hat was going on in this crazy story.

The protagonist, Kaaro, is the sole perspective to tell the story, which I was very thankful for--sometimes I just get tired of multi-perspectives in fantasy and sci-fi an prefer to stay with one person. However, the chapters do alternate between various times in Kaaro's past and the present, and it is done so in a way that melds together really well and lets the story unfold at solid, steady pace. Kaaro is a character that I really grew to love throughout the story. He first came across as someone who is a bit indifferent to the world around him, but as the story gained momentum and more about his past and current life were explored, his personality really started to show through. He's someone with a rather dry humor that adds subtle personality to an otherwise potentially mundane world; he's both reckless and careful, which makes for a thrilling combination.

Thompson's writing style is what I think made this book the most engaging for me. It's mostly a rather blunt, simple style, but it has a certain amount of deftness and precise storytelling that makes it something surprisingly compelling. I could never quite put my finger on what it was about this book that made it so captivating, but Thompson somehow continuously touches on deep, thoughtful topics in a simple way, then sprinkles in a bit of dry irony or humor and suddenly I'm glued to the pages.  He can take the complicated and write it in a simple way that is excessively readable. I also really liked the detail that was seemingly paid to each and ever word and sentence in this book. I felt as though there were a lot of very subtle references, metaphors, or other meaningful phrases and ideas that were quietly sneaked into the book. 

As I mentioned before, the pacing was really well done. There's enough intensity to keep the reader engaged, but it also moves at a somewhat slower pace at times that gives the reader a chance the get their bearings and better understand what is going on. There was no excessive info-dumping, but I always felt as though I had enough information at each given scene. The last third or so of Rosewater really picked up speed and that was where things really started to get crazy. I did find myself feeling a bit lost at various points near the end, but I can't tell if that was just me or if other people might also find themselves a bit confused and it was purposefully that way. Despite that, the ending was still extremely well done and has left me dying for a sequel.

Overall, I've given Rosewater 4.5 stars! I was so close to giving it five stars and there is a high likelihood that after I eventually re-reading this I might just raise it to that five.

*I received a copy of Rosewater courtesy of Orbit Books in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review: Lucifer's Star by C.T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus

Lucifer's Star by C.T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus
Mystique Press, 2017
Ebook. 300 pages

About Lucifer's Star:

"Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Interstellar Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he'd been fighting for was the wrong one. Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and escape his past. Unfortunately, some things refuse to stay buried and he ends up conscripted by the very people who destroyed his homeland. 

LUCIFER'S STAR is the first novel of the Lucifer's Star series, a dark science fiction space opera set in a world of aliens, war, politics, and slavery."

Over the past couple of years I've been slowly starting to get more into sci-fi, and space opera is one of the subgenres I've been trying to dip into more and more. I'll be honest here and say something a bit controversial--I am not much of a Star Wars fan at all, so I'm always somewhat skeptical of whether similar sci-fi settings will be a hit or miss, but I have to say that I had such an enjoyable time reading this book and am glad I had the opportunity to read it.

Lucifer's Star is a great example of a well-written, highly entertaining space opera. The world-building was executed extremely well, with an engaging futuristic world in which humans have basically destroyed earth and have now colonized a large portion of the world in space. I really appreciated how much detail went into the world-building and also the politics and intricacies of the world that added layers of authenticity to the world. It did feel a little hard to keep up with everything at times because it all seemed to come at me pretty quickly, but it also made me appreciate how much work the authors put into it. I also found the mentions of alien life interesting, as they weren't a huge part of this story, but they were still mentioned in a way that made it apparent that they were a part of the world. The alien life in this book are known to have greater technology and advancements, but there is a still a large air of mystery surrounding them that I think only added to the world-building.

The story is told from the perspective of Cassius Mass, a man who was once a legendary pilot from the Archduchy of Crius, a smaller nation that fought--and lost--in a big battle against the Commonwealth. Cassius is the sort of character that is ready to be done with his career and fade away into a quiet retirement, but as is the case in most stories, he is inevitably drawn back into new threats and conflicts. I found myself intrigued by Cassius' character and I found him to be someone that I genuinely cared about and was interested in following throughout the entirety of the book. In addition to Cassius, there are many other intriguing characters that we meet throughout the story. Something that stood out to me was how many incredible female characters there were, all of which felt extremely well-written and were represented well, which is so important and can sometimes be difficult to find in sci-fi. They didn't feel cliche'd or pigeon-holed into one type, but instead varied and had distinct personalities that brought everything to life..

Lastly, I want to mention that I felt this book touched on some really interesting topics and themes. I particularly liked that nothing felt simply black and white or good and bad, there was so much grey area within this world and the story that reflected reality in such a good way. As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of politics in play that can be a bit much, but there is also action and other content interspersed to keep things engaging.

Overall, I've given Lucifer's Star four stars! I though this was a well-written space opera full of intrigue and I would recommend to anyone interested in the genre.

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

*I received a copy of Lucifer's Star courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Monday, June 11, 2018

Review: Adrift by Rob Boffard

Adrift by Rob Boffard
Orbit, 2018
Paperback, 416 pages

I've been reading a lot of space-related science fiction lately, so I was excited to have an opportunity to read Adrift--and even more excited that it turned out be another great space book!

Adrift takes place in a futuristic world in which space travel is common and traveling through wormholes is also possible. The war between Frontier and the Colonies has been wrapped up for ten years and the two groups are working on settling a peace treaty between them to prevent future wars. The events of this story occur in a place in space known as Sigma Station, a mining station that is now largely a tourist trap where people visit from all over the world to learn about the history of the wars and to take a tour of the area.

Aboard the old clunky tourist ship the Red Panda--the place in which almost all parts of the events of this book take place--is Hannah Elliot, a young tour guide who is starting her first day on the job; Jana Volkova, the pilot who was once a Frontier pilot during the wars; the Livingstone family, featuring parents Everett and Anita  and their two boys, Malik and Corey; Jack Tennant, a reporter who would rather not be there; newlyweds Brendan and Seema who appear to have just wanted a nice vacation; and an older woman known as Lorinda whp previously worked at a different mining station before retiring. Right after they embark on their tour, however, they see Sigma Station being destroyed by an unknown ship and are left knowing that they are the only people still alive at the station.

Since the majority of this story takes place on one small aircraft, it's important that the characters all stand out and have compelling backgrounds and personalities to keep things interesting. Fortunately, I think Boffard did a great job of fleshing out each character and giving each one enough unique qualities and complex backgrounds to make them engaging to follow. Each character seems to have different types of 'secrets' in their past that are slowly revealed at key points in the story, so I can't really say too much in depth about their backgrounds, but just know that it is worth finding out. Corey, the youngest on board at age ten, is one of those characters that whether you like him or not you can't help but see how useful he is and root for his success. Malik, his older brother, was one of the only characters that I actually wanted to know more about, and I hope that in any future books more tie is spent on his character. Lorinda, Jack, Hannah, and Jana were all figures that stood out to me for their unexpected strength that appeared in similarly unexpected ways. The setup of this book forced the characters to lead the story, and Boffard executed this aspect wonderfully.

Adrift is a deceptively fast-paced book that doesn't seem fast-paced. Since the majority of the action takes place on only one fairly small ship, there is technically not a lot going on, but yet somehow there is always some sort of drama or argument occurring to keep things lively. Boffard also spends a lot of time with the background of each character and flashbacks of events that led up to each person being on the Red Panda. I thought he interspersed these well and at key moments, often grounding the story by slowing down after an intense or particularly action-heavy moment, which I thought was really well done. There is more than enough intrigue and shock in this book to keep you on your toes.

Overall, this is a really solid science fiction space book, and if that's something that you like then I encourage you to give this book a shot. I've given it four stars!

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

*I received a copy of Adrift courtesy of Orbit Books in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the book.*

You might also like:
One Way by SJ Morden
Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
Wayfarer: AV494 by Matthew Cox

Monday, June 4, 2018

Review: 84K by Claire North

84K by Claire North
Orbit, 2018
480 pages. Hardcover.

84K is a book that I'd been anticipating for quite a while. The premise of being able to just pay for any crimes you commit, no matter how big or small, is fascinating. How would society evolve? What would morals be like? How would prices for crimes like murder or rape even be calculated? Why did this happen in the first place? I had so many questions. And, unfortunately, I still have some of those questions.

I am incredible conflicted on how I feel about this book. On the one hand, it's a beautiful work of literature that features a poetic structure which leaves a strong impact on the reader. On the other hand, this literary style sort of distracted from the topic at hand and left me feeling as if the ideas I wanted to explore were hard to figure out. 84K definitely delves into some dark areas and does cover a variety of themes related to morals and similar ideas, but it just wasn't as engaging and discernible as it could have been, and I didn't find myself enjoying or becoming engaged in this book nearly as much as I expected. This issue, I eventually realized, reminded me of Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, where there was a fascinating idea (a futuristic America in which abortion is outlawed, IVF is outlawed, etc.), but it just wasn't explored enough because the high literary style overtook the plot, which is what feels like happened with 84K as well. It's a wonderfully written book, but it seems to miss some of what I was most looking for.

As mentioned, this book uses an extremely poetic style, and at times it both looked and felt as if I was reading a book of verse. There is, of course, more prose than verse itself, but it still had such a beautiful flow to it that made it easy to just sit down and read through. The story is told from the perspective of Theo Miller and with no warning often jumps around among different timelines in his life. Many of these jumps occur with new chapters or page breaks, but there are also many parts where each line often tells from a different timeline or a different character. It sounds confusing, and I'll admit that it was at moments, but overall it worked really well and added a certain amount of gravity and parallel to the storylines that added an extra layer of intrigue.

Theo was a character that I haven't quite been able to decide whether I liked or disliked. His situation in life is horribly dreary, and he seems to live in a very robotic state, doing the same deplorable work everyday as a Criminal Audit Officer, calculating the worth of people's crimes, lives, and futures. I think North did a great job of creating a relatable character that reacts in very interesting ways to unexpected news he receives. His eventual determination is admirable and is what helped to make this book so engaging.

84K is also a very dark book. There is a minute amount of hope found within these pages, and instead we are left wandering through a grim, exceedingly bleak backdrop. This became a situation where as much as I wanted to pick up the book to see what would happen next, I also sometimes didn't want to because of how harsh this book was--which is also a sign of great writing and worldbuilding. It's also interesting because when I think back on this book, I can't remember too many specific events or actions that took place in the first seventy-five percent of the book. There is a lot of background given, as well as snippets of other random aspects of this world. This isn't particular an action-heavy book, but it certainly has enough intrigue to keep one guessing, and the ending really picks up as well.

This is really a horrific future to behold, and the worldbuilding that is developed is incredible. I could feel the despair, the boredom,and the bleakness that the characters felt seeping into my own experience, and for that I think North is a wonderful writer.

Overall, I've decided to give this book 3.75 stars out of five. I am still incredibly conflicted about this and my rating may or may not change one day, but today this is where I'm at. I was fascinated by the storyline, impressed by North's writing and worldbuilding, but also very disappointed at how the style seemed to overtake the plot in many points. I would recommend this one to someone who is either into dystopian world ideas, enjoys literary fiction that tackles grim topics, or anyone who is simply interested in the premise. I will, however, be sure to pick up more from Claire North in the future because I find her writing incredibly intriguing!

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

*I received an ARC of 84K courtesy of Orbit in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my enjoyment of the novel.*

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Anticipated June 2018 Releases!

June is almost upon us, and you al know what that mean... new releases are coming! Below is a small collection of some of those books coming out next month that I am highly anticipating. There's a pretty wide variety this month, which I think it always a good thing. What books are you looking forward to?


Starless by Jacqueline Carey || June 12th -- Amazon | Book Depository

The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston || June 5th -- Amazon | Book Depository

Ravencry by Ed McDonald || June 18th -- Amazon | Book Depository

Adrift by Rob Boffard || June 5th -- Amazon | Book Depository

The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg LaForge || Amazon | Book Depository

A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White || June 26th -- Amazon | Book Depository

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman|| June 26th -- Amazon | Book Depository

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje || June 7th -- Amazon | Book Depository

Midnight Blue by Simone van der Vlught || June 26th -- Amazon | Book Depository

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd || June 5th -- Amazon | Book Depository

 Orope: The White Snake by Guenevere Lee || June 5th -- Amazon | Book Depository

The Mermaid by Christina Henry || June 19th -- Amazon | Book Depository

The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts || June 12th -- Amazon | Book Depository

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay || June 26th -- Amazon | Book Depository

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen || June 5th -- Amazon | Book Depository

Summerland by Hannu Rajaniemi || June 28th -- Amazon | Book Depository

Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez || June 5th -- Amazon | Book Depository

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir || June 12th -- Amazon | Book Depository

What are your anticipated June releases?

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