Tag Archives: Aliens

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) – Rick Yancey

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) – Rick YanceyTitle: The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey
Publishing Info: May 24, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 2, 2017
Related Posts: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1), The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2)

The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

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** This review will contain spoilers for the book! To view with spoiler tags and avoid any direct plot points, please see my review on Goodreads! **

My initial reaction to this book was… What did I even just read???
So to give this book the benefit, I did not look up what had happened in THE INFINITE SEA before starting it so I know I was missing a few things that had happened in book two, but I was kind of hoping it would all come pouring back once I started. (It did not.) I did finally watch THE 5TH WAVE movie a few months ago so at least I had that refresher of how it all started.

I’ve always had a hard time with Evan because I just like… really didn’t want Cassie to be in love with an alien… But the whole series it’s like, is he? Is he not? What in the world is going on?! That’s part of the appeal of the whole series — we never truly know — but I felt like I was jerked around for so long that I just didn’t believe anything anymore and I ended up feeling more numb towards the big, final answer because I wasn’t going to believe it no matter what happened. I was also Team Ben so as much as I got pushed toward Evan as a love interest the whole series, I wasn’t having it.

The book was slow and didn’t seem to move the plot forward much at all. Most of the true action and plot development happened in the last few chapters of the book, and they were also quite confusing. It felt like so much was jammed into the end of the book that I was trying to sort it all out at once instead of being given little kernels of information that I could apply to the series as it came to a close.

There were a lot of perspectives which didn’t bother me but I also think that things could have been a lot more concise and cohesive and better told through a few less. The addition of Ringer as a main perspective always felt a little off to me and I kiiiiind of wish her character had been rolled up into Cassie and allowed Cassie to stay in the spotlight with the romance and the badassery. I get why it was necessary, as far as the end of the plot went, but meh. Not a fan.

I also hated what was done to Ringer’s character. It seemed messy in so many ways, like there were so many ideas and they couldn’t be done to Cassie so let’s do them ALL to Ringer. There was a pregnancy story like which WHAT? UGH. Why was that even necessary? (It wasn’t.) It just felt so off and it didn’t do anything for the book except make me annoyed. I guess like, let’s preserve humanity and rebuild the world but ugh, that could have been accomplished with Sam and Megan. I also really just hate pregnancy story lines so I’m totally biased but I just didn’t feel like it fit at all. 

The whole book felt sloppy and confusing and like it got way too far from the first book, which I loved so much. The tone, pacing, and direction felt totally different (although I’m sure that was the master plan all along, but it didn’t feel like it) and some of the ending was so cheesy. I hate the “love is the answer” plot because it’s cheesy and overdone. It’s also STUPID in this book because if the aliens had been studying the humans for oh, thousands of years, HOW COULD THEY NOT HAVE TAKEN LOVE INTO ACCOUNT. If they’re that smart to mastermind this whole thing, even if aliens don’t understand a love emotion, it can be observed and people’s actions can be explained by it. Nope. Not buying it. I also know that I was doing other things while listening to this audio but what in the world even happened in the end? So what was the answer!? That’s a tough thing with being intentionally misled and redirected so many times — even the reader starts to wonder what’s real anymore, even if the truth is presented plainly. The characters still had doubts so that made me continue doubting. I don’t even know if I understand what the whole point was…

I’m glad I finished the series because it’s been on my shelf for so long but man, I haven’t been this confused and frustrated by a series finale in a while. I’m not even mad because I was already sort of detached (okay, I’m a little mad) but the biggest disappointment comes from loving the first book in a series and by the end, you feel like you can’t even recommend that series anymore. What a letdown.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Aliens, I guess. I enjoyed that this was an alien series that didn’t really feel so alien and far-fetched. Except for this book, where it felt totally far-fetched.
Left Me Wanting More: Conclusion. I just… I was so disappointed. This wasn’t what I expected at all and this whole series fell apart. I feel sad because I was one of those people who loved the second book where so many others didn’t and it ended up falling apart in the next book anyway.

Addiction Rating
If you’ve made it this far, might as well read it?

This isn’t a long book so if you’ve already read the first two, maybe worth finishing the series… But I’d still have a hard time recommending it and I don’t feel like I can even recommend the series now.

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BOOKS LIKE THE LAST STAR

          

Armada – Ernest Cline

Armada – Ernest ClineTitle: Armada by Ernest Cline
Publishing Info: July 14, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 21, 2015
Related Posts: Ready Player One

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.And then he sees the flying saucer.
Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.
It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?
At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

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I’m going to be very honest for a second… I didn’t really know what ARMADA was about until I started reading it! I absolutely loved Ernest Cline’s previous book, READY PLAYER ONE, and hearing that Wil Wheaton was narrating another one of his audiobooks, I immediately pre-ordered the audio. By the time the book came out months later, I had almost entirely forgotten what the book was about but since I do like to go into books blind, it wasn’t an issue with an author I trusted!

ARMADA was exactly what I expected and quite different all at the same time. I love that it’s still a video game tie-in/base (like in READY PLAYER ONE) but it’s used quite differently in this case! It really brought the same sort of feel — along with overall tone and character personalities — that READY PLAYER ONE had but didn’t feel like a repeat of the same story at all. I actually didn’t realize that the book revolved around an alien conflict (or totally forgot since I had read the synopsis so long ago) and I actually think that was a good thing! I’m very hesitant about alien stories and tend to steer clear so I’m actually glad that I didn’t really realize that was the main plot of the book  before I started!

ARMADA was really excellently written. Considering video games and aliens aren’t really my “thing” at all, I was totally hooked and interested the whole time and Ernest Cline did a great job of really making me feel like all of this could actually happen! The balance of action, plot, and character development was so consistent and dynamic and I just found myself falling further an further into the book. I’m still a newbie to sci-fi sometimes (sometimes I have issues with really technical concepts or specific references) but the book does a great job of connecting with all audiences and on many different levels.

This is definitely a more plot and action-based book but I really appreciated the attention to characters and character relationships. I really enjoyed getting to know Zack and I especially loved his relationship with his mom. She was one of my favorite characters and I really appreciated how she was portrayed! Zack also had some really great friendships and I loved that they didn’t suffer from friendship drama just to add another conflict in the story. The plot had enough going on by itself and I loved that his friends were there for him no matter what.

Whether you’re a sci-fi fan or afraid of alien books like me, I think ARMADA is enjoyable for so many audiences! If we’re comparing, READY PLAYER ONE is still my favorite of his, but ARMADA was so incredibly enjoyable as well. I think I personally connected more with the concept of READY PLAYER ONE so that gives it the extra push!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I immediately pre-ordered this audio knowing Wil Wheaton narrated! He did an excellent job with READY PLAYER ONE and I loved listening to him narrate ARMADA as well! The voicing of Zack and his friends were excellent and Wil Wheaton just really embodies characters so well. He really just goes all out on the narration and I love how authentic it makes the books feel. They really just come alive!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Zack Lightman // Character Obsessions: Armada, video games, family, friends, the memory of his father.
Zack was a really fun character. I just love these portrayals from Ernest Cline. He just felt like such a genuine and real person and I loved how in combination with the audio, I could just see the whole thing playing out like a movie in my mind too. I really admired Zack’s courage once things started getting real and I appreciated his dedication and loyalty!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Video games & aliens. I don’t really play video games ever (do we count Mario Kart and Guitar Hero? No?) and I usually shy away from any books that mention aliens because I just don’t find them believable but somehow ARMADA had both and I just loved it!
Left Me Wanting More: Story after it’s over? I usually use this spot to say what I was missing from the book but I really couldn’t think of anything! I didn’t quite have that personal connection that I did with READY PLAYER ONE but that’s just me and my experiences connecting to a book so that’s not really anything I wished could change. I WILL say, however, that it seemed like it was left open for another book…? I’m not sure if that’s a future plan but very interesting!

Addiction Rating
Buy it! (Listen to it?)

I definitely recommend this book on audio! It’s simply fantastic and I love Wil Wheaton’s narration. I think without it, I MAY not have enjoyed the book as much just because he brings SO MUCH to the book with his voicing. I do think it’s worth the read and the buy, though, no matter what! It was so entertaining and is starting to change my pre-conceived notions about some aspects of sci-fi!

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BOOKS LIKE ARMADA

(Click the cover to see my review!)

INSIGNIA     THE 5TH WAVE

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) – Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) – Rick YanceyTitle: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey
Publishing Info: May 7, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 14, 2013
Related Posts: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2), The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3)

    After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
    Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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I was terrified to start THE 5TH WAVE. I do not like alien stories — basically ever — but after so many rave reviews and friends telling me it’s a totally different kind of alien story, I decided to trust them! The aliens in this book — usually referred to as “the Others” (because they’re something other than human) — are not little green men with big eyes come to Earth in corporeal form. They co-inhabit human bodies and have been “awakened” at the right moment, basically after all the growing up and puberty and whatnot, so they really are ONE with the human — body and soul. They look like humans, talk like humans, act like humans… Until they turn around and shoot you.

I think one of the things that also helped with the alien topic was that they were believable. We don’t know what aliens would look like if they did exist and I think this is a great way of NOT putting a body that we couldn’t possibly imagine to that idea of life outside of our planet. Also, the Others are essentially destroying the humans in waves (hence, THE 5TH WAVE) so there’s a sense of post-apocalyptic Earth that was a big part of the book as well. I usually enjoy those kinds of books. (I do love my post-apocalyptic & dystopian books!)

THE 5TH WAVE focuses mainly on Cassie who is essentially telling us her story as it happens to her with a few flashbacks here and there. I gotta say… I loved Cassie! She used to be the nice girl, and once the 1st wave hit, she really instantly toughened up. I loved her sarcasm and biting humor and she actually reminded me of one of my friends so it was almost like reading about someone I knew! I loved that we get to see how tough and brave Cassie is, but she’s still totally scared out of her mind at the same time. She has a lot of tough decisions to make to stay alive and I really felt that sense of nervousness and constant fear from her.

I know a few reviewers had said that the change of narrators was a bit confusing, but it didn’t really bother me. I was expecting each chapter to alternate or jump around, but there are specific sections and each section — not chapter — is narrated by one specific character. Sometimes it changes from first to third person and sometimes the voice is not always immediately clear, but I really wasn’t bothered by it too much. I think it was more of the fact that regardless of POV or narrator, I needed to focus just a bit more. Some parts were alternating between present time and flashbacks, some parts were jumpy because of action, some because of a stream of consciousness-style flow, but I didn’t find it confusing. It just required a bit more focus than reading a “fluffier” type novel.

The thing I loved the most was how all of the loose ends tie up in the end. Stories come together, mysteries solved, and we FINALLY find out who is good and who is bad. The whole point of the book is that Cassie can never trust anyone because the Others look just like any other human and there’s nothing to give them away as untrustworthy. I kept suspecting people left and right, switching my opinions of good and bad in my head, and when everything finally came together, I felt much better! I think because the book received so much hype, I wasn’t let down per se, but I wasn’t TOTALLY amazed and shocked. I loved the suspense, action, characters, and plot, but it wasn’t quite a five-star read for me.

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Cassie // Character Obsessions: Staying alive, not trusting anyone, her Luger and M15, her brother Sammy.
Cassie was totally awesome. I loved her as our main character. She was loyal, brave, and determined despite the fact that she was completely alone and totally scared beyond belief. I loved that she sort of turned tough (although that’s the side that we as the readers always see) and her sarcasm totally cracked me up. I feel like I could be her sidekick… Although I totally wouldn’t want to be involved in the alien apocalypse, but yeah. I think we could get along!
Evan Walker // Character Obsessions: The Others, keeping Cassie safe.
Evan Walker was mysterious. I wanted to love him — okay, I totally did — but I also couldn’t trust him. Cassie had that tiniest bit of doubt despite all that he did for her so how could I not? I loved his role in this story from start to finish.
Zombie // Character Obsessions: Training, Nugget, Ringer.
Oh hey, Zombie. Didn’t expect you to be such a big part of the story and you totally made it twice as awesome. The whole entire way Zombie’s character is brought into this story… I don’t want to go into detail at the risk of spoiling, but it’s awesome. Just you wait and see! 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Science fiction. Most of my sci-fi reads are more paranormal… dystopian… even a hint of fantasy. Aliens? That’s sci-fi for sure. True, the aliens did make it more of a post-apocalyptic world, but this was more sci-fi than I usually read and I really enjoyed it! Looking forward to more.
Left Me Wanting More: You know what… I can’t think of anything. Although it wasn’t a FULL five stars for me, I can’t think of anything it was missing!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

THE 5TH WAVE lived up to the hype. PHEW. I devoured it in one day (seriously). It kept me on the edge of my seat with suspense and action and even had some nice romance in there!

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         Cinder         Reboot