Category Archives: Sci-Fi

Foe – Iain Reid

Foe – Iain ReidTitle: Foe by Iain Reid
Publishing Info: September 4, 2018 by Simon & Schuster
Source: ALAAC18
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction
Date Completed: June 30, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: I'm Thinking of Ending Things

In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm...very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won't have a chance to miss him, because she won't be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company.

Told in Reid’s sharp and evocative style, Foe examines the nature of domestic relationships, self-determination, and what it means to be (or not to be) a person. An eerily entrancing page-turner, it churns with unease and suspense from the first words to its shocking finale.

bookreview1

After being totally wowed by Iain Reid’s first fictional novel, I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS, I was very excited to find out that he had FOE coming out, which I was lucky enough to find at ALA this year. I knew it was something I wanted to pick up immediately, trying to find the same exciting spark but this one just didn’t have the same effect on me, mostly due to the ending, which was the selling point of I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS.

One thing that really did stay consistent was that ever-moving pace. Reid’s writing style just makes you want to race through to the end, constantly clueing readers in on subtle nuances that play a bigger part in the overall story. There are little things to pick up along the way, clues planted, and key points that constantly kept me guessing. I had so many wild theories as to what was going on (all of which were WAY off) and it wasn’t that they were red herrings but there were so many things to pay attention to that I should have guessed what was happening here and I didn’t. This was really similar to my experience read his first book as well, which made for a really enjoyable experience and I pretty much sat in the same place, ignoring everything until I finished.

I also love that this book is another 200+ page novel. It makes it easy to want to just sit there until I’m finished with the book. The pacing adds to the need to binge read and I really didn’t put it down until I was done! I read it within a span of a few hours, not wanting to stop until I found out what Reid had in store for his readers.

I will say, though, that I didn’t love the ending. I do want to talk about it so THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. Look away from he rest of this paragraph if you don’t want to read the spoiler part! So throughout the whole novel, there are little hints that this book is set in the future at some point in time. Junior and Hen live on a farm so their lifestyle hasn’t changed so much as far as technology goes, so I wasn’t sure if that was something to lead me off the path, but it really was a part of the story. “Screens” instead of a cell phone, the fact that Junior is even chosen for this space program, cars that drive themselves. All legitimate parts of the book. We find out down the road that this mysterious Terrance is there to create a duplicate of Junior for his wife while he’s gone for two years so then the suspicion is why and is that the real purpose? When it all comes to an end, we find out that the narrator WAS the duplicate almost the whole time and then the real Junior comes home. Definitely twisty but I was really hoping for another psychological twist where Junior was in a psych ward and this was a schizophrenic break, or that some things were real but others weren’t. I know the psychological twist was already done but I didn’t really like the sci-fi aspect of it. I guess I just wasn’t expecting it and was waiting for something huge. I did like the reveal and it was a great concept but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.

I did enjoy the book and it was impossible to put down, but didn’t love the ending. More so, I just love Reid’s writing style and even if I didn’t love this book, I will for sure be picking up anything else after this because the story is so enthralling and I can’t put these books down!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fast-paced novels. Both of the novels I’ve read from Iain Reid had me racing through, not wanting to put the book down! It was so easy to want to keep going to with a short number of pages, easy to inhale without getting up off of the couch!
Left Me Wanting More: Psychological thrills. I liked the psychological element of the first book and while I did like that this book had a different twist, I found myself wanting that same sort of twist.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

It’s an easy, quick, and addictive read. I didn’t quite love the ending but I think I’d still recommend it and find it worth the read!

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BOOKS LIKE FOE

              

Exclusive Interview with Marissa Meyer on the Archenemies Tour!

ARCHENEMIES TOUR

Marissa Meyer at North Central College/Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL

I always go see Marissa Meyer when she’s in town and I was so excited to be able to see her again in Naperville, this time for the ARCHENEMIES book tour! The amazing folks at Macmilan/Fierce Reads asked me if I wanted to interview Marissa before the event and of course I said yes! I sat down with Marissa to ask her a few questions about the Renegades series, super powers, and of course, Harry Potter sorting.

(Portions edited for time and flow, only affecting ease of reading and not the actual interview or answers.)

Brittany: We’re celebrating the release of ARCHENEMIES, which is the second book in the Renegades trilogy. The series was initially planned to be a two-book series. Did you always feel like it should have been a trilogy, or did that develop as you were writing the series?
Marissa Meyer: Originally, it did sell as a trilogy so for many, many drafts of RENEGADES. I wrote it attempting to make it a trilogy, but I had thought that the central idea of this hero and villain character falling in love wasn’t itself enough to carry it through three whole books. My plan had been to focus on other characters for the first two books and then Adrian and Nova were going to be the central characters of the third and final book… and it just didn’t work and it wasn’t working and it wasn’t working and after years and years of kind of pulling my hair out, we decided, you know what? Let’s just focus on Nova’s and Adrian’s story and make it a standalone! So RENEGADES became a standalone. I started writing it and finally it started to come together. Finally, I was able to focus on this story between Nova and Adrian, which is what I really wanted to be writing the whole time! So I’m writing it and it kept getting longer and longer and longer, and at some point I realized, hey! I think this could actually be two books. I told my editor and she was thrilled. So we made it two books and I finished RENEGADES. That was done and I started working on ARCHENEMIES, and it kept getting longer and longer and longer… And, at some point it became clear that it was actually three books! And so now it’s a trilogy and working on book three, and I’m preeetty sure we’re done at three. I’m pretty sure.
Brittany: That’s interesting! I like that, though! It’s like you never know where it’s going to take you.
Marissa: Yeah, this book has had a lot of surprises!

Brittany: That was actually one of my other questions! Was there any character scene that really surprised you as you were writing these books and brought you to places you didn’t expect? So I guess we kind of already answer that in part!
Marissa: Yeah. There are tons of things that surprised me! Hmm, what are some specific examples…
Brittany: Were there any characters that ended up getting more page time that you didn’t think were going to be such a big part of the book?
Marissa: No, if anything, there are characters that ended up getting less face time than I expected that they would initially, but it kind of fluctuates. There are characters who you didn’t see a whole lot of in book one, but then they come up more in book two. There’s a character who was supposed to play a huge role in book two and then it ended up not working at all. So now we’re going to see them in book three and that kind of whole [concept] got moved to book three. Then there’s, you know, ideas for scenes that you think will work and end up not working, or you’re writing along and suddenly character says something that completely surprises you and you have to go with it. I mean, there’s always things in writing that come up and change.

Brittany: I really love a well-rounded villain, and I love how often we get to see the inner-workings behind the villains in your books! We got to see Levana’s sort of origin story in FAIREST, the Queen of Hearts and her beginning in HEARTLESS, and now we have so much insight to the Anarchists with Nova being a main character in the Renegades trilogy! Are these types of characters more difficult to write because of their many layers? Or does that actually help you with so much to build off of?
Marissa: It depends! I mean, some of my hero characters are more difficult to write than others, and some of the villain characters difficult are more difficult to write than others, so it doesn’t seem to necessarily be one or the other. But certainly in writing the villains, I’m always trying to make sure that I really understand where they’re coming from. Whether it’s something in their past that has driven them to be a certain way, or something that they’re trying to accomplish that’s motivating them, I want readers to may say, “You know, well, I don’t agree with what they’re doing — they’re really making bad choices — but I can kind of understand why, or I can empathize with them on some level.” So as the writer, of course, I’m always trying to find ways to empathize with them and connect with them in the hopes that we’ll come across to the the readers.
Brittany: I think that’s really interesting with all of the Anarchists who kind of have different levels — there are some people who are so far gone and then Nova, especially being a main character —  you get to see how she interacts with the heroes. And I just think that’s really neat how you get to see all of that, all in one book.
Marissa: Well, thank you! I love writing the villains.

Brittany: Were there any specific sources of inspiration for some of these unique superpowers? Like Ruby’s? Or Honey & Danna with their insect connection?
Marissa: For the most part, [I go with it] if i get an idea that I think seems really cool. Most of the superpowers, I got the idea for them and thought they would just be cool ideas to write about, or were a very visual superpower. I like to write my books to have a very kind of cinematographic quality to them and so something that[, the visual superpowers,] I just thought it would be really neat to play with in different battle sequences and whatnot, so I’m always drawn to powers like that. Alternatively, if there’s something that I think I would really like to have, like that’s a superpower that I would love, then those tend to take top billing too.
Brittany: Were there any of the book that you were ones that you really wanted to have?
Marissa: Nova’s… I would love to never have to sleep! I do also like Adrian’s, too. I do not have any really artistic skill and I’ve always envied people who could drive and paint. You know, it’s sort of symbolic that there are people who could draw something, and it feels like it comes to life on the page. Adrian can actually make things come to life and I just think that’s so cool!

Brittany: The Renegades trilogy is your first release that didn’t have fairy tale inspiration. Was the writing process a lot different without having to go back to a specific source like that? Or did it have any different inspirations?
Marissa: So different, it was so different! I mean, when you’re doing a fairy tale retelling or origin story, like with HEARTLESS, you have a built-in framework already. You know, if I’m doing Cinderella — we know there’s going to be a stepmother. We know there’s going to be a ball. We know there’s to be some sort of shoe that gets lost — like there are things that you know are going to happen, and then you can kind of build the story off of that. But with Renegades being completely original, I had influences — plenty of influences — but nevertheless, I had complete freedom to do anything that I wanted with the story. At first I thought that was going to be great and so easy and fun! And it turned out to be the opposite… I had so many ideas and so many different directions that I thought about taking the story. I tried so many things and really got very lost many, many times and saying, “What could I do with this story? There’s so many options!” and lost focus with it again and again until I finally was able to figure out okay, what is this story that i’m trying to tell?
Brittany: Do you think there would be any like spin-offs or little novellas for the things that did have to get pushed aside?
Marissa: I don’t know! There are a couple of characters that ended up getting cut that I thought had potential for their own works… probably not in the Renegades world — probably a completely different universe’s story world — but I just like some of the ideas that came along with them and I think I could definitely recycle them into something new at some point. As far as, spin-off stories… I have felt like there’s definitely potential to do something from the Age of Anarchy. There’s certainly lots of cool stories that could be pulled from that time period! I don’t know that I will, but it’s something that I have thought about, so we’ll see.

Brittany: There are so many excellent character connections in this series, from family to friendship to romance to teammate. Do you have a favorite character relationship in the Renegades trilogy?
Marissa: Well, I always love the romance story lives obviously! Adrian and Nova, but I also Adrian’s dads, Simon and Hugh — I love every scene where we see them! I think they’re so charming. So in all of my books, everything I’ve ever written before, none of my characters ever have good families! Like, they’re always neglected, and abused — these poor characters of mine! And Adrian was really the first protagonist that I have where he comes from a healthy, loving family, and that is so refreshing to be able to write! I always enjoy those scenes.

Brittany: If you could get yourself a tattoo like Adrian does, which power would you give to yourself first?
Marissa: That’s really good question! I haven’t been asked that before…  I’m trying to think if there’s a tattoo that would let me fly…
Brittany: Wings on your feet?
Marissa: I’m going to have to think about that one!
Brittany: It’s a tough question! I couldn’t think of one for myself…
Marissa: Yeah, because all of his are very centric on like fighting! Even like the jumping thing — having tattoos on the soles of your feet sounds painful… so I’m not sure!

Brittany: If characters from your other books had superhero names and powers, what do you think they would be?
Marissa: So, the first that comes to mind for Cinder would be The Mechanic! She somehow be able to magically fix things… which she sort of already has that superpower! I could totally see Scarlet having fire power and being… the Scarlet Witch,  but that that already exists — there’s Scarlet Witch in Marvel! Hmm, like the Scarlet Flame or something! Wolf would probably [something like a shapeshifter]… There’s another word I was going for, but that works, so he can turn into a wolf!

Brittany: If we were to sort the Renegades characters into Hogwarts Houses, would all of the Anarchist be Slytherins, or will there be a good mix or balance in there?
Marissa: Good question! I almost feel like Nova might be more Ravenclaw than Slytherin…  She might even pass for Gryffindor. Honey would definitely be Slytherin. The Puppeteer, he would be Slytherin. Leroy… He could be Ravenclaw too. But maybe Slytherin. Who am I forgetting ? Phobia! We forgot Phobia!
Brittany: That’s a good question! Are we going to get to know more about Phobia? I’m very excited for that! I just feel like we’re being led up to that.
Marissa: He’s an example of someone who I thought was going to play a much bigger role in the first two books and then ended up not really coming to fruition, but he just become more central in book three.
Brittany: I’m loving the lead up, though. Like, you know that you’re going to get more information and that’s really exciting!

Brittany: I know you love writing romances and I love how naturally they develop. It’s not quick into romance, like you can feel that tension and everything leading up with Nova and Adrian. Is it hard not to just jump right into the kissing scenes?
Marissa: So hard!! All I ever want is for my characters to start kissing! In my very first draft that I ever wrote of CINDER, her and Kai were kissing on like, page 30. Like, let’s do this!! But yeah, I mean, i’m always looking forward to that part. But also as a reader, if the romance develops too fast and they’re kissing too soon, then I lose interest. Like no, no, no, I want the struggle and the tension and suspense, and I really like it to last as long as possible!

I had SUCH a great time interviewing Marissa and another big thank you to her for giving us this scoop and insight on the Renegades trilogy!

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) – Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) – Neal ShustermanTitle: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman
Publishing Info: November 22, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: May 31, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

bookreview1No matter what they say, sometimes you do judge a book by its cover, and that’s part of the reason why it took me so long to pick up SCYTHE. It’s not that it’s a bad cover but the cover just gave me a vibe that made me feel like it might be silly and a little too much for my taste. I guess that feeling wasn’t inaccurate because there was still this levity to the book — wit, cleverness, and a concept that was maybe a little too surreal to believe — but it also wasn’t a silly story.

I really enjoyed SCYTHE a lot more than I thought I would. The concept never really came around to feeling like it would be real or it could happen, so I never felt fully IN the story but I did really enjoy it despite that slight distance. It was an interesting concept that I did enjoy and it had a little feel like Dead Like Me (man, I need to continue that show. I think I only watched a couple episodes). Whether or not you consider the magic element, there was a lot of good character development that brought me into the book and I really connected to the characters!

This book also had a really nice balance of humor and things that really made you think. This was my first Neal Shusterman book and I really enjoyed his writing style. The book was easy to read and still had a great amount of depth to it. It immediately left me wanting to read the next book and continue the series!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Unique magical concepts. I don’t think I’ve read something like this before! I kind of liked the reaper concept and it was fun to hear about this new magical concept and learn something new.
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. On the flip side, I didn’t connect to the reaper concept as much as I wanted to. There was just something there that felt a little… unrealistic or silly. I know it’s just some concept in my head that I can’t get over, but I never did.

Addiction Rating
Read it

This was a fun book with some really great character development. I really enjoyed it and I feel like a lot of others have as well!

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BOOKS LIKE SCYTHE

              

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) – Amie Kaufman & Jay KristoffTitle: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publishing Info: March 13, 2018 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes, Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: March 26, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1), Gemina (The Illuminae Files #1), Unearthed (Unearthed #1), These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1), Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

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What an obsession this series is! I also received the audiobook at the same time but I knew I had to read the print copy because of its unique formatting. As much fun as the audiobooks are, I think I enjoy all of the visual effects more (although the audiobook does some really neat things too)! I did listen and read side-by-side a couple of times but I read much faster than I listen so sometimes it was just too slow to do both.

Of course, I enjoyed OBSIDIO but endings are so bittersweet! I didn’t realize before the book came out that main character Asha is Kady’s cousin, and I actually think I would have liked it more if it was a whole separate character without an actual relation. It did help bring things full circle back to Kady and the start of the book, but there were also times where Asha’s story felt forced. I actually didn’t really connect to Asha or main male lead Rhys as much as I connected to any other main character so things just weren’t as exciting plot-wise in OBSIDIO for me.

As much as I love the hate-to-love romance, I was disappointed to see a THIRD one in this book. The first two were fun but oy. It’s overload to read the same trope three books in a row and we knew where it would end up anyway.

For me, Kady, Ezra, Nik, and Hanna were where it was at! Amie and Jay like to give their readers heart attacks and my favorites were facing some close calls and serious situations! I also loved AIDAN’s involvement and how he was still such a big part of the series overall! I could have gone on reading this series forever but I did like the conclusion. I think I would have liked things to really focus more on the plot rather than the romance in this book and I kind of feel like a third couple wasn’t necessary, but naturally, I enjoyed OBSIDIO overall.

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Kept Me Hooked On: The Amie & Jay duo. They’re just such a good writing team and their teamwork is so seamless. I love how I can’t tell who wrote which parts (although we found out that Aidan is all Jay).
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. There was a lot of romance and couple focus in this book and with such an epic series to conclude, I was hoping for more of the plot all throughout.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you loved the first two books, of course you need to finish! I think this is my least favorite read of the series but I do love them all so much.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE OBSIDIO

              

The Final Six (The Final Six #1) – Alexandra Monir

The Final Six (The Final Six #1) – Alexandra MonirTitle: The Final Six (The Final Six #1) by Alexandra Monir
Publishing Info: March 6, 2018 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: May 10, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.

For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.

As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

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First of all… I did not know this was a series going into it and it really does affect how you view a book. I kept waiting for things to lift off (quite literally) and this just didn’t have the action that I was expecting. It really felt like THE HUNGER GAMES meets Space Camp and I was looking for way more (or any) space action actually IN space. The ending was a surprise and I didn’t realize that we were going to get zero answers or resolutions, which even for a cliffhanger was kind of disappointing. There really was no wrap up even for the first book and it was just left totally open on nearly every account.

Besides my series rant, this book was… okay. I’ve been in a YA slump because maybe I’ve read too many books (GASP) or something but I feel like a lot of books have really been misses for me lately with concepts that have been done before, books that need more meat on their bones, or tropey romances/plots that have been done way too many times. Obviously you can’t please everyone, but I think this book could have benefitted from less romance and I’m not saying take the romance away but I would have loved that personal bond that wasn’t all head-over-heels. BUT ALAS, that is often how teenage love goes so it’s not like it’s unrealistic. I don’t like using the term instalove because I don’t not believe in REAL instalove that lasts but this felt like a more… shallow instalove that I just didn’t latch onto. I felt the connection and I actually liked it, but then it reached a point where it was that “can’t live without you even though we just met” thing again and I was over it at that point.

And for a book that’s all about going to space……… no one spent any time in space, and that’s what I was here for! Okay, okay, I get it. It’s a series and you didn’t know that, Brittany, blah blah but we could have spent like, a little time in space. In transit? Just a little? I was really expecting something to happen in that respect and to be honest, I was expecting the whole book to take place on a moon/planet so the fact that none of that happened in the first book was a let down. The ending also rapidly got very cheesy and a little silly and after my other frustrations, it just wasn’t enjoyable after that.

THE FINAL SIX started off well and had my interest but a lot of things added up to just really miss the mark for me. It was still an interesting concept but grand ideas turned into believable plot for which I just couldn’t suspend my reality enough. Will I read the next book? I’m really not sure. I didn’t love the writing in THE FINAL SIX but if we’re actually getting to the space part, I’m definitely interested. But the instalove might kill that desire to read it because the love story really turned me off near the end of this book.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Space Race. You see so many things about Jupiter’s moon having the ability to host life forms so I’m kind of a sucker for anything where people try to inhabit it or terraform a planet. It’s just fascinating (and maybe a little terrifying).
Left Me Wanting More: Friendship. The romance here just really brought me down. Things got way too dramatic so quickly and it ended up being annoying.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

I really like the concept for the series but I REALLY wish this book had been combined with whatever is coming in book two. I felt like there was far too much time spent at training and not enough getting to the point of things. As with a lot of books lately, I feel like this could have benefitted from better editing to really push the story forward.

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BOOKS LIKE THE FINAL SIX

              

Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) – Pierce Brown

Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) – Pierce BrownTitle: Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown
Publishing Info: January 16, 2018 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: February 5, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Red Rising (Red Rising #1), Golden Son (Red Rising #2), Morning Star (Red Rising #3)

A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

bookreview1

WELL. This book has given me quite a number of confusing feelings. MORNING STAR was my favorite book of the Red Rising original trilogy and I’m not ashamed to admit that part of the reason was all of the stunning punches that Pierce Brown packs into those pages. I wouldn’t say I was let down because that’s silly and harsh but the twists of the first three books did really set up for IRON GOLD to follow suit and I just didn’t feel as floored by the plot. I guess it makes sense with IRON GOLD really being the new start and taking place ten years after MORNING STAR, that it restarts the three-act process and reestablishes stories from the beginning, setting a new series arc into motion. I’m back at square one where I was with RED RISING where I enjoyed it quite a bit but there was still that smidge of something that I was missing where I didn’t QUITE love it.

That being said, Pierce Brown is an amazing, AMAZING character creator. These characters are some of the most in-depth fictional characters that I’ve ever met. There are things that I hadn’t even though about, running through so many emotions, turmoils, and logical thoughts, that really just don’t make it into the pages of books. These characters carry grief and love and purpose well beyond the pages that we witness. One thing that I love is that for example, as Darrow grows, his grief grows with him. His heartache changes based on the things he’s learned in life. His view of people like Eo and his father and Mustang and Pax constantly change based on his experiences and that’s something that really hit me in the gut reading this book. So often we see characters who carry their grief along but it’s just this empty hole that can be all-consuming… and that’s absolutely true, but Darrow and Ephraim and Lyria and Lysander — they all experience these things so deeply and go through so much that their lives change perspectives and change the way they look at their past. It just feels like Pierce Brown is able to take this to a layer that I’ve experienced very few times and I’m wholly impressed with the emotion that it leaves behind.

For some reason I just wasn’t connected it IRON GOLD like I had hoped, even after binge reading the first three books. I still felt taken out of this world because of the character shift (Darrow’s first-person to four different first-person narratives) as well as the shift in purpose, maturity, family focus, and so much more. It was an adjustment for a while and I did enjoy the other POVs but there was still something that wasn’t quite cohesive for me. It picked up with POVs started merging and things really got interesting and then it seemed like everyone started to fall back apart again and things lost momentum.

Also like RED RISING, there were a lot of new characters who weren’t necessarily BRAND new but who we started to see take on more prominent roles. I’m not sure if it’s an audiobook thing but sometimes I have a hard time keeping track of all of the names and families (though that did seem to be a RED RISING issue and I read that in print) so there were times I forgot who was related and why they were important. I don’t think I would have changed anything because obviously their stories are so very important, but it was something that took me out of that experience enough to be noticeable.

Overall, the writing is just brilliant but I think IRON GOLD may be my least favorite book so far. That may change as the series progresses and I get more of a grip on this new story arc but I don’t feel as invested as I did with the previous story arc… but this same exact thing happened with my reading experience with the Red Rising books. It took until GOLDEN SON to really start to connect with everyone and everything and then MORNING STAR blew my mind, so there’s still the overall series experience to look forward to. This is only part one (or part four… I feel like Star Wars here) of much more to come and there’s a lot left to experience, that much I know!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Series continuations. It was really interesting to see these characters grown as adults and how they deal with the aftermath of everything from the original trilogy!
Left Me Wanting More: Twists. Is that greedy? There are just so many great twists throughout the first three books and I just wanted more!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Obviously if you’ve ready the original trilogy, I recommend it! It wasn’t my favorite of all the books but I’m interested in where this set of books goes!

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BOOKS LIKE IRON GOLD

          

Morning Star (Red Rising #3) – Pierce Brown

Morning Star (Red Rising #3) – Pierce BrownTitle: Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown
Publishing Info: February 6, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: January 26, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Red Rising (Red Rising #1), Golden Son (Red Rising #2), Iron Gold (Red Rising #4)

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

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OH MY.
WHAT.
WHO.
THIS BOOK.

So I started reading RED RISING and it was enjoyable but I think I lacked direction on where the series was going. GOLDEN SON was similar to RED RISING in the beginning for me, feel-wise, and then I really connected to the characters in the second half. And I actually started MORNING STAR off with that bit of feeling like I was looking for where the series would end up and OH. MY. GOD, PIERCE BROWN.

Okay, so let’s back up even more. I finished the book on a on a Friday and I saw Pierce Brown on the Tuesday before. The event blatantly spoiled a big THING *cough*it was all Pierce*cough* and I really did expect spoilers but I was still upset. I thought that would be one of the biggest things in this book and HA it was not even close. The end of MORNING STAR was just phenoooomenal. You think you know a twist? There’s another. And another. And another. Ugh, I was so surprised and angry and happy and relieved and pleased and just the entire range of emotions.

I wasn’t understanding the love for this series because I wasn’t quite connected to it early on but DUDE. Pierce Brown totally nailed it in this book and things came together FROM THE BEGINNING (which I love. A+ world-building there) and it was so, so rewarding.

It’s hard to talk about MORNING STAR without spoiling anything so I’ll leave this as more of a feelings review, but if you were ever on the fence about this series, hopefully this book makes it all worth it because it totally blew my mind!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Insane twists. Pierce Brown packed some punches in here that I just did not see coming! It was so exciting and I never knew what was going to happen next.
Left Me Wanting More: Of everything. This book truly had it all, and I absolutely loved it. I didn’t want it to end!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’ve been hesitant about the series, this is the book that brings it all together. If you haven’t, well, I think you’re about have your world rocked.

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BOOKS LIKE MORNING STAR

          

Golden Son (Red Rising #2) – Pierce Brown

Golden Son (Red Rising #2) – Pierce BrownTitle: Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown
Publishing Info: January 6, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: January 20, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Red Rising (Red Rising #1), Morning Star (Red Rising #3), Iron Gold (Red Rising #4)

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

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It’s been quite a bit since I read this book and I had a hard time putting my feelings into words because Pierce Brown kind of took all my words away on this one. GOLDEN SON is definitely my favorite book out of the whole series so far (having read through all of the published works at the moment) and it really did blow my mind!

I had the same sort of issue starting GOLDEN SON as I had with RED RISING where I was enjoying it but didn’t quite love it, and then almost halfway through, everything snapped into place and I was in love! GOLDEN SON, unlike many other sophomore novels, really started getting everything into place for the trilogy’s conclusion while still connecting to everything in the first book. The whole cast of characters really started to shine, outside of just the main cast, and I finally felt like I had a hold on all of the character connections and the different houses.

The plot also really takes off and the reader really gets a sense of the direction of the whole series. RED RISING was great but it was also a lot of world-building and set-up that had to take place before we really got to some of the good stuff in GOLDEN SON. I also think GOLDEN SON had the most twists which of course is something I treasure in books because I always love being surprised and Pierce Brown sure dropped a few bombs in here (no pun intended).

I think GOLDEN SON was the strongest Red Rising novel and Pierce Brown about killed me in the end! There was so much going on, new and wonderful characters, familiar faces, and a whole lot of action! Definitely my favorite out of all of them.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Insane twists. Pierce Brown packed some punches in here that I just did not see coming! It was so exciting and I never knew what was going to happen next.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection in the beginning. I still had that sort of distance in the beginning but it did come around quickly!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you hated RED RISING, well, you probably won’t like the rest of the books BUT if you liked it or thought it was okay, things definitely get better in GOLDEN SON so I highly recommend it!

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BOOKS LIKE GOLDEN SON

          

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) – Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) – Pierce BrownTitle: Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown
Publishing Info: January 28, 2014 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Adult, Action/Adventure
Date Completed: December 27, 2017
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Golden Son (Red Rising #2), Morning Star (Red Rising #3), Iron Gold (Red Rising #4)

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

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By the time I got around to writing my review for RED RISING, I’ve already finsihed the entire first trilogy and finished the first installment in the next era with IRON GOLD, so admittedly, I have quite a different view of this book than when I write down my initial thoughts. It actually makes it all the more interesting to see how I’m able to look back at this book in a such a different light, so I’ll try to capture both aspects since I’m able to do so!

RED RISING really wasn’t what I expected at all. First off, it’s not really young adult. It’s a young adult book in the sense that it has a teenage protagonist and involves many things that are prominent themes in YA novels, but the whole series is marketed and was sold as adult, which I had no idea! It’s weird because I don’t find young adult to be young, or limiting, or unable to reach the depth that adult novels have, but there was a sort of different tone that had a more mature feel and made the journey much more of one where the main characters are being pushed into adulthood rather than experiencing the normal coming-of-age transition that many YA novels focus on. This also becomes a lot more noticeable throughout the series, at least for me.

To go along with that feel and concept, the book had a much different flow than I was anticipating. I’m not sure what I really was expecting with this book but I was not anticipating a HUNGER GAMES read-alike, something of which I have never truly found. The book kicks off with Darrow and his life on Mars, setting up the current state of things and once that’s established, it quickly moves to murder school where the teens essentially learn what it is to be an adult in this type of society. I was kind of disappointed with the abrupt switch because I really wasn’t expecting it and it felt like a whole different plot and even a different book. That being said, I did still enjoy everything that happened, but it was quite a different feel! It was super brutal and really had that cut-throat (sometimes literally) feel of the HUNGER GAMES mentality, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away and everything that takes place there sets up the relationships for the entire series, which I loved.

At the end of the book, I wasn’t totally dying to run and pick up the next one. I had mixed feelings on the overall flow and while the writing was deep and beautiful and amazing, the way that it ended just didn’t push me to pick up GOLDEN SON right away (even though I basically did). It was hard to see where life was headed after this and it was set up but still quite fuzzy. I could tell it was going to delve much more into the politics but without knowing what the world was like outside of this academy, it was hard to anticipate exactly what the feel of the next books would be. 

This was the first book I’ve read (in print) in a while that I’ve really been able to focus on and enjoy so that did have me excited to continue with the series! The hype was real and while I didn’t seem to love this first one as much as other people had, obviously at this point in time, I know the hype for the series is real! If you’re new to the series, it is definitely worth it, even if you’re not in love with RED RISING; however, if you’re not a fan of the themes, action, or writing of RED RISING, that is the general feel of the whole series so you may want to think how you might feel about future books!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Mars?! I loooove books that take place on other planets. I love space and it’s so neat to see how authors create livable atmospheres on other worlds.
Left Me Wanting More: Flow. The book didn’t really flow like I had wanted it to. It felt a little choppy in the beginning but I think it really came together in the end!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This one wasn’t my favorite of the series but it really sets up everything for the series and the characters, action, twists, and adventure are so worth it!

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BOOKS LIKE RED RISING

          

Passenger (Passenger #1) – Alexandra Bracken

Passenger (Passenger #1) – Alexandra BrackenTitle: Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Publishing Info: January 5, 2016 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 5, 2018
Related Posts: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1), Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2), In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3)

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

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I obsess over time travel books so I was really excited to read PASSENGER! I had only read THE DARKEST MINDS before this (not the whole series yet — just the first book) and really loved it and connected with Alexandra Bracken’s writing. I have yet to go back and finish The Darkest Minds trilogy but I was really in the mood for time travel and had this audio from a sale so I wanted to give a whirl!

My first impressions upon finishing (and throughout the book) were that of… disappointment is a harsh word, but I did feel disappointed that I personally didn’t enjoy it like I had hoped. The concept was great but it just didn’t move despite traveling to so many times and places. The characters themselves moved but it didn’t seem like the plot really pushed forward as much as it could have despite having plenty of opportunity to do so. I did like that it wasn’t just different times but also different places. It was fun to travel the world and through time! I could really picture each place and time pretty vividly.

The characters were what really did it for me, though. They just fell super flat for me and I had trouble connecting with any of them and didn’t feel that spark in the romance either. Etta was feisty and strong, but it seemed to be on a surface level and I just didn’t really feel like she was this well-rounded character who felt it. I think of characters like Puck from THE SCORPIO RACES and it just is her entire being and personality to be this feisty, strong, independent character. She feels like a real person and I just never got that from Etta. The romance seemed abrupt, the character personality developments seemed abrupt, and I just didn’t think those character developments really flowed throughout the book. Throw in an evil villain and I just started getting lost. I would have loved a bit more of a grey area, whether by controlling leader or by simply the concept of breaking the time travel rules, and I would have been more interested. It gets a little boring with purely evil characters.

The ending actually got a lot better and things got interesting but I started to feel bored towards the middle. It just kind of felt like so many other plots and characters that I’ve read before and I thought this was going to be something that would really surprise me and sweep me away. Since it’s only a two book series, I’ll likely finish it but I’m just really bummed that I didn’t fall totally in love like I had expected.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Unique time travel. I really did like the time travel concept in this book! It wasn’t just travelling through time but also to different places around the world. It was fun to visit so many new and exotic locations and it kind of reminded me of Claudia Grey’s Firebird trilogy, really expanding out of that box that we see so many other books take.
Left Me Wanting More: Character development. I just really didn’t feel it! I didn’t really connect to Etta or Nicholas at all and I was just really hoping for more there.

Addiction Rating
Try it

I seem to be in the minority on this one because I’ve see so many rave reviews! I’m not sure why I didn’t connect the way so many others have but it’s worth a try because you may love it like everyone else!

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BOOKS LIKE PASSENGER