Friday, November 27, 2015

The Game of Lives by James Dashner

Series: The Mortality Doctrine (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Action-Adventure

Subjects: action, adventure, artificial intelligence, gamers, games, hackers, technology, thriller, video games, virtual reality

Setting: The VirtNet, Atlanta, Georgia

POV/Tense: Limited 3rd person POV, past tense: Michael

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 336 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Random House: Delacorte Press

Summary/ product description: “Michael used to live to game, but the games he was playing have become all too real. Only weeks ago, sinking into the Sleep was fun. The VirtNet combined the most cutting-edge technology and the most sophisticated gaming for a full mind-body experience. And it was Michael’s passion. But now every time Michael sinks, he risks his life.

The games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine—Kaine’s master plan—has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box—if Michael can figure out who his friends really are.”

My Review:  It may be just me, but I enjoyed this final book less than the previous 2. There were not as many crazy mid-blowing twists are part of the reason. It could be that I’ve had a stressful past week and instead of reading the book consistently, I had to work of projects. Still, I love the idea of this series. It’s so creative. It kind of make me think of the Matrix because the VirtNet’s life-like virtual reality. If you haven’t read the previous two books, you shouldn’t read this review because. (SPOILERS FROM PREVIOUS TWO BOOKS AHEAD).

As a review, Michael is a Tangent and he’s in the body of Jackson Porter. Michael and his friends are trying to stop VNS and Kaine’s enactment of the Mortality Doctrine. Tangents are continuing to be downloaded into people’s bodies, possessing them and creating chaos around the world. Michael’s nanny appears to him in a real body and she and other have a plan to fix the situation.

They’re going to an embassy to virtually witness a UE meeting (Like the UN). They get side tracked and end up meeting other tangents that want Michael to join them. Bad stuff happened along the way. Some die, some live. Michael finds out there’s a lot more to what’s going on, and he doesn’t know whom to trust. His greatest enemy might just be his greatest ally. 

I did enjoy the action and all the stuff about coding and the VirtNet. The characters still feel a bit flat personality-wise, but the dialogue is good. I like Bryson’s sense of humor, and Sarah’s okay. I really liked the funny possibly connection of this series to The Maze Runner. Bryson says he has Griever nightmare, supposedly from a game, and “Flare-infested Crank” is mentioned near the end. Also, in The Kill Order, the VirtNet is mentioned.

Overall, it’s a good finale. I might not have read it at the right time. I hope James Dashner continues to write fun action-packed book series like this one. I’m sure I’ll read it. I recommend this to fans of James Dashner. Also people who enjoyed these books: Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam, Insignia by S.J. Kincaid, and Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza. Fans of the Matrix movies, and Transendence and any sci-fi movie about technology will enjoy this.

Cover Art Review: It fits the book, but it’s kind of boring. I wish the title wasn’t so big and centered.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

Series: Firebird Trilogy (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: multiverse, parallel universes, science, love

Setting: San Francisco, California, New York City, Paris

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Marguerite Caine

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 426 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You features Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book.”

My Review:  This is a really awesome sequel. I’ve been waiting for this since I finished the first book and now I’m so happy to have read. Claudia Gray has made another great series, this time sci-fi instead of paranormal. These books have such beautiful covers, and wonderful content to match. I enjoyed every moment of this book. There are no dull moments. It’s like a thriller. The setting moves to different places, different worlds. It’s exciting and fast paced.

Marguerite travels to different dimension, into different versions of herself to collect the pieces of Paul soul that were splintered. She’s been made a “perfect traveler” so she has complete control over herself in the other universes. Conley is forcing her to destroy her parent’s Firebird project work in these other dimension. The Firebird is a device that lets people’s consciousness travel into other version of themselves. They can’t physically travel there; only their minds do. I love seeing how different or similar each universe is. It’s like a surprise every time. There are different circumstances, so people may be different from their other selves in some ways. Sometime she finds herself in California, where she lives currently. Sometimes in England, New York, or Russia. The travel part of this book adds interest.

Somehow Marguerite is connected to Paul in some way in most of the universes. Also Theo is there frequently too. Marguerite discovers that she sometimes is in love with Theo, not always Paul. She loves Paul deeply, though. Theo is a great friend to her. I personally like Theo more because he’s got a great sense of humor and dresses like a hipster, and Paul is kind of quiet. They’re both smart, though. It’s not truly a love triangle.

I recommend it to those who enjoyed: Parallel by Lauren Miller, Tandem by Anna Jarzeb, 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil, The False Memory Series by Dan Krokos, Unraveling and Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris, Unremembered and Unforgotten by Jessica Brody, and other parallel universe book, and The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges, which is set in Russia.

Cover Art Review: I still love the use of watercolor texture and the city skylines. These are still some of my favorite covers and make me wish I bought them, but I liked the colors of the previous cover better. The indigo/navy blue with the stars in it is nice and reminds me of my own watercolor paintings of night skies.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gabriel by Nikki Kelly

Series: The Styclar Saga (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Paranormal Romance

Subjects: supernatural, immortality, vampires, angels, demons, magic

Setting: The U.K.

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Cessie/Lailah

Age/Grade Level: Teen (12 & up, but also feels like New Adult)

Length: 375 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Macmillan: Feiwel & Friends

Summary/ product description: “The handsome Angel from Lailah gets center stage in this continuation of Wattpad sensation Nikki Kelly’s romantic and action-packed series about mortals, vampires, and angels.

Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He's also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

Once again, Nikki Kelly looks deeply into the heart and soul of good and evil to create a romantic, action-packed reading adventure.”

My Review:  This sequel is slightly more interesting than the first book. I gave both 3 stars. I love the mythology, the angel stuff and that made up word of Styclar which is like heaven. This is set in the U.K. or at least I think it is. There were moments in this book where I was excited and moments when I was bored. Maybe because I am so sick of vampire stuff, or because I don’t like British-y books. I love magic and sci-fi stuff and this defiantly had some but it’s not as compelling as other paranormal books I’ve read.

I thought it was cool that Lailah had changed and now had angel and vampire abilities and her hair is now blong and black, and her eye are blue with dark spots. Transformations in characters are cool. Though I don’t get why so many female heroines lately want to get short haircuts. Like a haircut is a great disguise or something. She can now travel by thought and quickly. She can feed on sunlight or blood. She’s a pretty unique character in those ways, but I feel a lack of personality. She seems kind of quiet, I guess. Possibly a little Mary-su. We get to meet a new set of character that are Irish demon-hunters. They use like at the end of sentences a lot.

I wish that there was more romance with Jonah. Lailah forgot him and now only loves Gabriel. The love triangle was broken, but maybe only temporarily. In the previous book, Jonah had reminded me of Damon from the Vampire Diaries. Jonah’s American. He’s got a bad boy persona and a romantic nicer side. He’s get-under-your-skin annoying, but you can’t help but like him. Gabriel is more mysterious and very loving and caring. He’s light and love. He’s not the real Gabriel, the Arch Angel, but a younger angel “descendent.”
I recommend this book to fans of Twilight, Fallen, Hush, Hush, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, The Dark Element series by Jennifer Armentrout, the Halo series by Alexandra Adornetto, the Embrace series by Jessica Shirvington. If you still love reading vampire books or even angel books, then you should try reading this book. If you are sick of vampires or angels, then it’s probably not a series for you.

Cover Art Review: Somewhat cool looking cover. The fire and the birds are cool.