Category Archives: Science Fiction

Incarceron

Incarceron

I’m still playing catch-up to books that I read and didn’t have the energy to post about.

Incarceron is a prison, designed to be a “perfect world” – a paradise – but in reality a harsh and vast universe with strange landscapes and people. Sealed for centuries, only one man has ever been rumoured to escape. Continue reading

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Filed under Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult Books

Emperor’s Edge (#4, #5, #6, #7)

You get a mass post!! Mostly because after Book #3 of the Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker (Deadly Games), I read the remaining books all together in a mass consumption/must finish the series madness.  That was due to the abundance of cliffhangers – thank goodness the series was all out and I didn’t have to WAIT between books because that would have driven me crazy. I hate cliffhangers when I have to wait, and when I DON’T have to wait I treat a series like this as one really really long book.  So that completely taints this review, just FYI.

If you’ve not read any of the series, you can find my reviews of the first three books here (#1), here (#2) and here (#3).

I feel like there are too many spoilers to really plot summarize anything, but let me at least briefly outline maybe one focus of each book:

Consipracy

Conspiracy (#4)

Let’s see… recall that each book features one member of the ‘gang’ more prominently, so this book is centered around Akstyr – the skinny practitioner of the “mental sciences” (magic) who has a bad attitude and the least amount of buy-in to the group. 

The group is set to complete their most dangerous mission yet – kidnapping the Emperor.  What could go wrong?

Then comes…

Blood and Betrayal

Blood and Betrayal (#5)

Maldynado is probably my favourite character other than Amaranthe, and this book is his spotlight! Finally!  It was especially timely as I feel that his character was cast into shadow / doubt during the Conspiracy and it would have been torture to wait longer without having that explained.

Maldynado is sort of put in charge, which is a position he’s been actively trying to avoid most of his life. Too bad that there are plenty of obstacles in his way, including the fact that Sespian (the Emperor) doesn’t trust him.

Next is …

Forged in Blood I

Forged in Blood I (#6)

The group is still fighting Forge, the country is in upheaval, and things are of course dangerous and full of action! BUT – finally (wooo-hoo!!!!) you get a view inside Sicarius’s head!!  He’s pretty inscrutable normally so this is a treat!

And finally…

Forged in Blood II

Forged in Blood II (#7)

Wrapping up the series, you move between Amaranthe and Sicarius’s points of view.  It was mostly tying up all those loose ends, and admittedly the best part of it was figuring out just WHAT was going to happen with the two of them!

Fini!

Except that I JUST discovered there is a book #8 (The Republic) which I shall be reading as soon as I get my hands on it!

Anyway,  for all the books as above, I will give a collective 5/5 because:

  • I loved the action
  • I couldn’t put them down
  • I loved that each character got his or her own time to shine
  • I highly enjoyed the background – steampunk, aliens (which normally I hate, but it was not actual aliens just their leftover dooh-dads), and old-fashioned sword fights.  With lots of train heists.
  • I LOVED that Amaranthe was a strong female character, and also Yana who takes on more of a role.
  • I loved the character development
  • I loved the slowly revealed love story (i.e. Amaranthe and Sicarius)
  • I didn’t have to wait between books!

I would highly recommend this series as a fun fantasy/adventure – and if you want to learn more about what happens in the books and the pros and cons of each, I would just look them up on Goodreads lol.

🙂

 

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Filed under Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Steampunk

The Mark of the Dragonfly

The Mark Of The Dragonfly

The Mark of the Dragonfly  by Jaleigh Johnson was a random read for me – I was browsing the “available now” section of the library’s ebook collection under “young adult + fantasy” and I liked the look of the cover.

Piper is a scrapper – eking out her living by salvaging the remnants left over from the mysterious Meteor showers (that rain both meteors and strange goods). She supplements this meager living with her skills as a Machinist – she has learned to fix mechanics and her skills with machines put food on her table.

Piper’s life changes with one meteor shower.  Among the wreckage of a caravan, Piper finds a girl, Anna.  Anna can’t remember anything about her life but she wears the intricate Mark of the Dragonfly – a special tattoo that means that she is both from the Dragonfly Territories and under the protection of it’s king.

Piper decides to help this strange girl – even if it means leaving her home and everything (and everyone) she knows.

She and Anna must catch the 401 – a massive old train that weaves its way south, to the Dragonfly Territories.  Getting on (without a ticket) is just the first hurdle – and the start of a magical, dangerous, and life-changing adventure.

Piper is a great character.  She shows just enough change and growth, and just enough flaws to be realistic.  She’s stubborn (VERY stubborn), quick to anger, but a fierce protector of her friends and family.  She may be young but she’s a pretty strong character.

Anna is a mystery – a naive but brilliant girl whose memory seems to be returning in odd snatches.  She’s bubbly and friendly and super chatty – it’s no mystery why Piper feels so protective about her.

The three main characters from the train (Gee, Trimble and Jeyne) also add flavour and depth to the story.  I love the similarities between Gee and Piper – both so prickly on the outside but fiercely loyal and protective once they’ve claimed something as their own.  I would love to read more about the whole crew – I hope that more books are forthcoming.

This is probably more of a middle-grade / tween book than a teen / young adult book, but for it’s genre I thought it was a fantastic mix of steampunk, magic, and science fiction all rolled into one.  It’s a fast read and pretty light – but still enjoyable.  It moves fast but there’s enough background that it doesn’t just skip from action scene to action scene with no plot or glue to hold it together.

I’ll give it a 4/5 – quite a pleasant book to pick up and just what I was looking for!

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Filed under Fantasy, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Tween Fiction, Young Adult Books

Deadly Games (Emperor’s Edge #3)

Deadly Games

My perusal of the Emperor’s Edge series continues with book #3, Deadly Games.  It’s been a slow process – I can’t really account for the delay between reading the second book, Dark Currents, and this one.  After the break, it was nice to get back into the characters, and I found the book went much faster and flowed well.  Maybe it’s just an improvement in her writing style, or maybe the focus on Basilard was more interesting to me than Books.

Amaranthe Lockdon is still trying to prove herself (and her team) are on the Emperor’s side.  Constantly looking for good deeds, their self-imposed holiday is interrupted when athletes begin disappearing from the Imperial Games.  Things are never as easy or as smooth as planned, of course, and members of Amaranthe’s team are secretly plotting against each other, a potential new ally tries to turn her in, and Sicarius disappears.  There’s also the ever-present avoidance of the Enforcers, which adds even more spice to the story.

Bonus for fun fight scenes! Amaranthe seems to be constantly butting heads with vicious creatures, and this time a Kraken comes between her and her goal.  Amaranthe just kicks butt.  I love how she’s a strong character, who believes she can talk her way out of numerous situations – but she knows how to fight when she needs to.

I just love the interactions between these characters, as their relationships grow and change and strengthen.  I also love that the story is not all about the developing feelings between Amaranthe and Sicarius – there’s a plot to focus on after all!

I love the slow slow thawing of Sicarius, and the slowly revealed back stories of each team member (Basilard in this one). I think I do like Basilard better than Books – I guess I have more patience for Basilard’s internal moral dilemmas than Books and his lack of confidence.

An action-packed steampunk adventure!  I think I even enjoyed it better than book #1, The Emperor’s Edge.

5/5

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Filed under Fantasy, Mystery, Science Fiction, Steampunk

Across a Star Swept Sea

across a star swept sea

Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund is the sequel or companion book to For Darkness Shows The Stars. It is based in the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy, which is one of my all-time favorite books. I loved this adaptation – set in a dystopian world where humanity was ravaged by both the horrible consequences of genetic manipulation gone wrong (the reduction) and a subsequent world war, the book introduces a whole new cast of characters. Gender-bending the cast of the Scarlet Pimpernel, the book is predictable yet original. I was swept up by the story and characters. Love, love, love!! It’s so great to find a great book!

New Pacifica consists of two nations – Albion and Galatea. Galatea is in the midst of a revolution, and the revolutionaries are using new Reduction Pills as their guillotine. The Wild Poppy is an Albion spy who is determined to save as many Aristos and Regs against the revolution as possible, in the face of incredible danger.

Thoughts:

  • Such a compelling setting! So different from For Darkness Shows The Stars but the same world (just another aspect of it).
  • The technology is creative and fascinating.
  • The characters are well rounded and believable. I loved Persis and Justen! I also thought the secondary characters were fantastic supports, if less focused on.
  • I LOVED the appearance of a few familiar faces.

No complaints! 5/5!

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Filed under Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult Books

Vitro

Vitro

Vitro, by Jessica Khoury, is a science fiction novel where science is taken perhaps too far.

Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island, a remote island in the Pacific, to find her mother.  Sophie’s mother is a scientist on the mysterious island.  Corpus, a company with origins and it seems few ethical considerations, has pushed science to new limits.  On Skin Island, the scientists have created a batch of new beings – the Vitros.  These Vitros have special abilities and one huge flaw.

Sophie convinces Jim, a young man she knew as a boy, to fly her out to Skin Island. When there, she discovers that things are not what they seem, and that her mother is not the person she believed her to be.  Sophie also discovers a shocking secret – her twin, Lux. A Vitro, Lux carries their special abilities and their curse.

Sophie’s arrival sets off a chain of events which reveal just how far Corpus may go to protect it’s secrets.

My initial thoughts:

  • Wow!!
  • Action! Anxiety!! Gasping moments! Family! Love!
  • Science – taken beyond ethics
  • Psychopaths!!

My after-thinking-about-it thoughts:

  • This was a brilliant story about what happens when the boundaries of science and greed are pushed past decency and compassion.
  • Sophie is a vivacious character, who can be easily lead, at times, but who will fight passionately for what she thinks is right.
  • Jim is also an interesting guy, an unexpected hero.
  • I was tempted to look at characters in very black-and-white ways.  For example, scientists = bad.  But the family dynamics created many shades of grey that I appreciate even more upon reflection.

This was certainly and exciting book!  I also love how there is a mention of the “South American project” – clearly Origin.  I love links!

I would definitely recommend this one!  4/5
On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.

Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. With the help of Jim Julien, a young charter pilot, she arrives–and discovers a terrifying secret she never imagined: she has a Vitro twin, Lux, who is the culmination of Corpus’s dangerous research.

Now Sophie is torn between reuniting with the mother who betrayed her and protecting the genetically enhanced twin she never knew existed. But untangling the twisted strands of these relationships will have to wait, for Sophie and Jim are about to find out what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach

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Filed under Science Fiction, Young Adult Books

The Girl with the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles #3)

The girl with the iron touch

I finally got around to book three of The Steampunk Chronicles, The Girl with the Iron Touch. (You can find my thoughts on book one here and book two here). I feel like the Goodreads Summary, which I read before the book, doesn’t really do it justice AT ALL.  Or at least focuses on weird things which aren’t as big a deal in the book.

Finley, Griffin, Emily, Sam, and Jasper are all back in England.  When Emily is kidnapped by automatons, it seems that their old foe, The Machinist, is somehow behind things once again.

Emily has been summoned to transplant The Machinist’s consciousness into one of his automatons.

Griffin, in the meantime, appears to be suffering but won’t tell why.  What is tormenting him? Or who?

Finley is good at getting mad, and must confront her feelings for Griffin … and for Jack Dandy.

Sam is determined to get his Emily back, and finish an unfinished conversation between them.

Jasper, distant and withdrawn, is still mourning the events in New York.

My thoughts:

  • Better.  Better than the second book (The Girl with the Clockwork Collar) at least.  Maybe I just like Emily better than I like Finley.
  • I still can’t put my finger on what bothers me about these books. Maybe it is that it takes place in a historical setting but doesn’t have a historical FEEL to it.
  • I like Sam a LOT better
  • I feel like the description on the back hypes stuff up too much (i.e. Love triangle) but the story focuses on other things, including a new character.
  • FINALLY Griffin and Finley get to actually confronting their feelings.
  • Happily, there are no new love triangles and the old ones are mostly resolved! Woot!
  • An amusing side note: apparently my mental voice cannot do an Irish accent that is NOT the voice of an old man haha.  It made reading Emily really funny.  I’m going to have to watch clips of a young Irish girl talking to get the old man voice out of my head!!!

3.5/5

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult Books