Sunday, February 28, 2016

Riders by Veronica Rossi

Series: Riders Duology (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Paranormal Romance/Thriller

Subjects: supernatural, demons, angels, magic, horses, apocalypse

Setting: California, Rome, Italy, Norway

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Gideon Blake

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 362 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Macmillan: TorTeen

Summary/ product description: “Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?”

My Review:  Riders is a pretty good series opener. The beginning of the book starts weeks after the fact, and Gideon is telling his story to a woman named Natalie Cordero, who’s possibly a psychologist or interrogator with a government agency. There are some interruptions when she asks him questions. She seems skeptical of his story, but also seems to put on an act of believing him.

Gideon was training for the army to be in the 75th Ranger Regimen. He has an accident on his 6th time parachuting and almost dies. He wakes up with a strange red metallic bracelet on his wrist. He’s healing from his injuries mysteriously fast. He goes to a party at his sister’s college and meets a girl that tells him he has to come with her. This girl is Daryn, and claims that she is a Seeker in search of the current incarnations of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and tells Gideon that he’s War.

Gideon’s in disbelief even after being attacked by the Kindred at the party. They travel across California to find Famine and Death, and eventually Conquest, who’s in Europe. Along the way, they try their best to evade the Kindred, but still some attacks occur. Also the horsemen don’t all get along. Gideon’s got quite the temper sometimes. My favorite character is probably Sebastian (Bas). He’s such a nice guy, doesn’t want to fight. He had dreams of being a famous actor, and Gideon actually met him during Bas’s audition. There’s some romance between Daryn and Gideon. Daryn seems like a cool girl and reminds me of other female characters I’ve read.

I love the horses. I didn’t expect that there would be horses. I thought “horsemen” would just be a title with no actual horses involved. But there are horses! Gideon’s horse is a fiery red stallion. This horse has real flames for its mane and tail, like Ponyta & Rapidash from Pok√©mon. Also it makes me think of Ghost Rider. Bas’s mare is dark and shadowy, but beautiful. There’s Death’s pale horse, an ashy mare. And Conquest’s glowing white horse. I like the names they each come up with for their horses too.

This was pretty exciting. Can’t wait to see how it ends in the sequel-finale. I recommend this to people who enjoy shows like Supernatural or Messengers (which was cancelled after 1 season) or Constantine. Also fans of paranormal book in general. If you like horses, too.

Cover Art Review: Cool fiery horse!!! Really awesome cover.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Series: Reckoners (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: super powers, abilities, supervillains

Setting: The city of Ildithia, which used to be Atlanta, Georgia, but was turned into constantly moving salt and now is in Kansas

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: David

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 417 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Random House: Delacorte Press

Summary/ product description: “When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.

David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when Prof struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Once the Reckoners’ leader, Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back...

But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.”

My Review:  This is a truly EPIC finale! It’s like a rollercoaster through a zoo filled with unicorns, dragons and puppies, while you eat ice cream, and listen to you favorites music. Sadly, the ride’s over, and I don’t want to get off. (How that for a metaphor….I mean simile.) I’ll miss David’s ridiculous metaphor-similes and his Epic obsession and his adorable geekiness.

This series has been one of the most constantly entertaining series to date. Seriously, these books never bored me and always left me wanted the next one. I’m just so mind blown by this finale, I don’t know what to say. I wish we could see more of what happened later on, after the end of the book, like a novella or story at least.

The characters in this series have been so unique, set apart from each other. I never had trouble remembering their traits, abilities or quirks. The character relationships were amazing. David and Megan, who I totally ship because they’re made for each other, remind me of other romances in YA series from a male POV, in which the girl’s the tough one in the relationship, and the guy’s a bit more nerdy or sweet. Think Percy and Annabelle, Alex and Darla (Ashfall), or Gray and Bree (The Taken Trilogy). Megan is an Epic and can pull shadows of parallel worlds into ours to make an illusion of reality.

I love the Reckoners team. Prof was cool, in a Xavier from X-men sort of way, until Prof went dark in the previous book. What a super villain. Abraham is an African-French-Canadian who’s ex-military and pretty reserved, but he’s still cool. He’s get a chance to work with some awesome Epic-derived technology in the book. Cody is a southerner who obsessed with Scottish stuff, and makes up tall tales about his people, the Scotts. Mizzy, an African-American with poufy hair, is very perky and uses words like “Groovy,” that David’s never heard. Tia, an older redhead and Prof’s girlfriend (who’s missing, or dead possibly) was an expert on Epics.

Of course if you read the previous books, you know all that, or just needed a reminder. If you hadn’t read them, you you should probably stop reading this review and look for spoiler free reviews on Steelheart, ya slontze. (That’s not an insult, that was a made-up word from the book, which was set in Chicago, now Newcago).

The Reckoners are in Ildithia, which used to be Atlanta and used to be in Georgia. Well now’s it’s made of salt that grows and disintegrates over a week, moving like mold, by growth and decay. It’s currently near Kansas City, Kansas. Weird, I know. I didn’t get it at first either. It’s pretty cool though. I like the idea of a building made of a crystal. Though, having to move each week would suck.

They set up a base there, avoid Epics until the mission. Stuff doesn’t go so well. They have quite a few run-ins. The make plans. David in currently leading the group and coming up with crazy ideas and persuading the other Reckoners to go along with it. Everyone’s skeptical of David’s farfetched plans. David’s eternally optimistic, sometimes in an annoying cheeky way. I like him for that. He almost reminds me of Ray from Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow, (who get called “boy scout” a lot).

The ending of the book is crazy. I kind of suspected what Calamity was, but didn’t know who he was. A what happened to David was what I was hoping for, but I didn’t expect what exactly would happen. If you think I’m being vague, I am doing so to not spoil it. I really want to talk about it though. OHMYGOSH!!!!!! EERRRR!!!! I just…loved it too much. Seriously, why can’t there be more series like this?
Recommend this to fans of Marvel and DC comics and movies and TV shows. Books like Illusive, V is For Villain and Shatter Me.

Cover Art Review: Cool cover. Love the colors and the bullet hole. Very representative of the series.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Series: The Red Queen Trilogy (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Subjects: abilities, superpowers, supernatural, magic, war, rebellions

Setting: Norta (All of New England, New York, Pennsylvania)

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Mare Barrow

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 440 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $19.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?”

My Review: The Glass Sword is the sequel to Red Queen. I really enjoyed Red Queen. It was exciting and unique. This book for me suffers a bit of a sequel slump. There’s a lot of cool stuff in it, but it lacks some of the excitement of the first book. I think finding other Newbloods with abilities is cool in an X-men kind of way, but it becomes hard to keep track of them. I had to make a list to keep track of characters, their appearance and powers. Some stuff is just brushed over to quickly. It’s possible that this sequel was less exciting because it took me a week to read it because I was so busy with school and work. It’s kind of a long book with too many little words on each page (each page could easily be 2 pages).

I did enjoy it though. I loved all the different abilities, from illusions to invulnerability, the Newbloods had powers that no Silver had. The training and the missions were pretty awesome. There are a lot of similarities with other series about people with special abilities, like The Young Elites series by Marie Lu, but that was high fantasy, and this is dystopian-fantasy. The world building is amazing and it’s about 350 years I the future. Global warming happened, as well as nuclear warfare, and radiation possibly resulting in the existence of the Silvers. It’s never explained completely.

There’s some romance, but I don’t think there’s enough. Cal seems like a great guy, despite being the prince. He’s like a Fire-Bender in Avatar. His brother is kind of evil, what with tricking Mare, and making Cal kill his father. I was kind of hoping Maven was secretly a Whisperer like his mother, and other pretended to be a Burner, but I’m mistaken. Mare is a badass, but less likable in the sequel. I guess she’s more flawed with all the stuff she had to go though. Kind of like Adelina in The Young Elites. The book got a lot more exciting and fast near the end, when Mare’s team tries to break out the Newbloods that Maven captured, as well as wrongly imprisoned Silvers. It makes up for all the slow parts that could have easily been left out and made this book shorter. So, I give this sequel 4 stars.

I recommend Red Queen to fans of the following types of books. Books about rebellions, dystopian or otherwise: The Young Elites or Legend by Marie Lu, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Pawn by Aimee Carter, Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page. Dystopian books with fantasy elements: The Selection by Kiera Cass, Crewel by Gennifer Albin, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Defiance by C.J. Redwine. Books in which superpowers/magic powers play a big role: Glitch by Heather Anastasiu, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Illusive by Emily Lloyd Jones, Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, Blackout by Robsion Wells, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (also has character with lightning powers). Unique fantasy books: Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch, Shadow and Bone by Leugh Bardugo, Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Cover Art Review: I love the simple photo illustration of the glass sword-crown dripping blood. The cover is a larger size and it’s metallic and the background mimics light blue silk. The crown and title is embossed.