Book Review: Waking Gods

Book Review: Waking Gods

After the events of Sleeping Giants, where a crew had located pieces of an unknown being which were scattered across the world and put them back together again. Now in the second book of the series, Neuvel takes the story and raises the stakes and gives us a terrifying insight at what an alien invasion might be like.

Set ten years after the first book, the US has formed a defense group in order study Themis, the giant robot that was found previously. We’re quickly brought up to speed about what the characters have been up to: Vincent and Kara are still piloting Themis. Rose is still trying to recollect herself after her memory loss. Everything is quiet until another one comes – much larger than Themis and possibly even more dangerous. Everyone must come back together in order to solve the mystery as to why.

The Themis Files is truly one of my favourite series. It’s just so much fun and has so many surprises.  So much happens in a short amount of times. And you’re led to believe that Themis is good but things have changed so much. The pacing is so fast but still leaves a readable plot. Things get violent but not in a gory descriptive way, it was very horrific to read half of the stuff that happens in here. It’s a very powerful follow up to Sleeping Giants.

For some reason with the first book, it took a while for the style of narration to grow on me. I wasn’t even sure if I had liked it back then but now it really appealed to me and I love this style. Something about it – the interviews, journals, and radio – really works for me now. Our mystery narrator was also a question mark for me in book one but all my questions about him were answered and we really do see a vulnerable side to this all-powerful narrator. There’s also a spark that came from reading Sleeping Giants that I felt like it was missing here but it’s still a worthy sequel.

Overall, an interesting sequel that carries over the stakes from the previous novel. And that epilogue was truly a shock. I thought this might be a duology since the story felt close to being finished but Nuevel drops a bomb off a cliffhanger. I truly cannot wait for the next installment.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY |

tw: major character deaths, sudden death (if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

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Book Review: They Both Die At The End

Book Review: They Both Die At The End

Rating: ★★★★★

Just minutes after midnight, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio receive their Death-Cast calls: they are going to die today. Despite being total strangers, they find themselves meeting each other and having one final adventure on their last day ever.

Can you believe he spoils the ending with the title and I still found myself a total wreck by the end? I have not read any single Adam Silvera book before reading this, but if they’re all as gut-wrenching and amazing as this: count me in.

The concept is so fantastic and Silvera has created such an inventive, alternate world.  It’s very character-driven as the book encompasses a whole day in the life of two teens as they go around whatever they want. Mateo’s introverted, while Rufus is more outgoing, but both use this day to truly be themselves without the fear of judgement because, hey, they’re dying today.

They visit their favourite food places, close friends and visiting Mateo’s dad in the hospital. It’s packed with moments of emotions and first experiences. The plot was very sweet and sentimental. They’re very empathetic characters which such different personalities but somehow connect and spend the day working together to have a fulfilling ‘Last Day’. At its core, it’s basically a message of carpe diem but it plays out in such an interesting way

One of my favourite parts was the inclusion of other character’s perspective. When I first saw it, I wasn’t too sure of it since most of the time, it never works. But here it did. In between the main story, we get a brief glimpse into the lives of many other characters. Even though they aren’t central to the main story, it shows how the actions of other people are connected to plot in some way.

To be honest, I don’t have many criticisms aside from the technicality of Death-cast and the one-day love story. I would ignore this if I was you guys, I’m just being technical. You’re called on your mobile that you’re doing to die that day but what if you don’t have a phone? Does some scary man knock on your door at midnight and be like ‘so ya, you’re gonna die today?’ Or maybe the universe is set up in a way that everyone has one but just doesn’t seem plausible. Also, I’m just very sceptical of one-day love stories, maybe it was all for plot’s sake, though, but I loved their story, nonetheless.

Overall, it’s easily one of my favourite books this year. It’s so great and I definitely need to bump Silvera’s books up my reading list. I would recommend this one to anyone!


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY |

tw: death of LGBTQIA+ characters, anxiety, mentions of suicide (if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

 

Book Review: The Blazing Star

Book Review: The Blazing Star

Rating: ★★★☆☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

After finding themselves stranded in Ancient Egypt with no way out, Portia, alongside her sister and freshman Selene must navigate their way to safety. But the trio discover their appearance is anything but random.

It took me a while to finish this book, due to my massive book slump during the exam period. Luckily, I did finish it in the end and I’m glad my lack of desire to read didn’t affect my opinion on this book massively. To start, the book’s introduction was incredibly difficult to get through. To be honest, I found it rather dull. At first, their introduction didn’t really hook me in. The character of Selene was a big question mark until you learn what her part is in the novel. At the beginning, the only thing kept me going was the fact Portia and Alex were twins. However, it started to changed once they actually made it to Egypt. Trust me when I say staying put with this book was worth it.

Being a twin, I’m always a bit biased towards twin books and Blazing Star follows the similar pattern most YA novels do. One twin struggles with her own identity while under the shadow of their overachieving sibling. But the location makes it different and interesting, we mainly watch Portia learn to accept herself but it lacks in the twin dynamic since they’re mainly apart for most of the novel. Since it’s very character driven, Portia grabs your attention as she evolves from an insecure person to a stronger and more self-assured character.

The book’s strength lies in its location, its description of the city, its people and culture. I particularly liked how everything is introduced into every interaction, you definitely feel Portia’s exasperation as we learn everything about Egypt as Portia does. I feel like there should’ve been more of a contrast between the language. They speak a lot in slang and feel like no one questions it as much as they should. It could’ve added greater tension between the two different groups. Sometimes the girls from the present speak in ways that didn’t seem fitting or wouldn’t have been understandable to someone from Ancient Egypt however, I brushed that off quite quickly since, maybe, writing wise, it’s easier.

The main problem with this book was its pacing. It was just so slow! It takes a while for the premise to finally kick in and towards the end, it truly delivers. It’s a shame that I can tell many people will be put off by this and will fail to see a truly decent book by the end. The ending ends on such a good cliffhanger, I definitely need the sequel since I know it will be better now that we’re past the introduction. I still enjoyed it despite its flaws, but I will anticipate anything Imani Josey will do with this series and any future novels she will write.

Overall, structurally and pace-wise, THE BLAZING STAR could’ve been better but definitely look into this if you love fantasy and time-travel. It was, towards the end, a truly fun and diverse read.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

Images and graphic are attributed to MediaLoot.com. Cover source: Goodreads.com

Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe

Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe

Rating: ★★★☆☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book

When her supposed best friend snitches on her, Julia finds herself expelled and stuck in a mainstream school who aren’t kind to the only Deaf girl there. The only thing she takes with her is her paints and Julia tags wherever she can. But someone is adding to them and a graffiti war is the last thing she thought she’d find herself in.

The last book I read with Deaf characters was Soundless by Richelle Mead and just comparing these two you tell the difference of research that went into the portrayal of Deaf characters. YWU depicts Deaf culture; the way she texts, how ASL is, in fact, a language not an extension of English, the typical experiences a deaf student faces when in a majority hearing school. We’re shown her lifestyle and it’s not just a case of simply replacing said/says with signed. (I did have a review from a Deaf reader to put in here but the links I had are no longer available)

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Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited

Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited

Rating: ★★★★☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

Set in Washington, D.C., THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED follows the summer story of 17-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso, who has had 26 unrequited crushes (and counting!). Molly considers herself the opposite of her fraternal twin sister, Cassie. But things begin to change when Cassie gets a new girlfriend who comes with a new possible boyfriend for Molly. But Molly might have co-worker, Reid, in her mind instead.

I think if I had to sum up this one book in one word it would be cute. The Upside is the second book from Simon vs. author Becky Albertalli and it’s just as fun and adorable as its predecessor. If you loved the humor and pace of Simon vs., you’ll definitely get the same feeling from The Upside. Similar to Simon Vs., Becky’s writing is simple and easy, everything is kept light and hilarious.

Unrequited is about different relationships, while focused on romance, it also includes familial ones and Molly is, easily, a relatable lead. She’s super cute and witty, I found myself rooting her from the very beginning. Becky Albertalli knows how to write awkward moments and happy scenes that create true-to-life scenarios that make this cast of characters feel so real.

Speaking of the cast of characters, rarely do I read a book where I would happily read a novel of each separate characters. From Molly’s mothers, who are strict and loving while they might not get it all the time, they’re clearly caring parents who will do anything for their children to dorky Reid, short stories of just him working in his parents’ store would make me happy. Looking back at the story now, I’ve realised how much Becky has packed into this novel but it never once felt overwhelming. It all felt natural following Molly’s story, but also her sister’s and her friends and family.

I think what got me the most was the fat representation in this book. I loved it and I saw myself in it. While I didn’t personally relate 100% when Molly spoke about her crushes but when it came to her body image, I could relate so much.

Overall, The Upside of Unrequited is a fun and enjoyable read, dealing with multiple issues faced by teenagers and portrays them in such a positive way.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY |

Book Review: Dreadnought

Book Review: Dreadnought

Rating: ★★★★☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

In a world where superheroes and villains are a regular occurrence, Danny finds herself being the passed the power of Dreadnought when he falls out of the sky and dies right in front of her. The side effects of this transform Danny’s body into what she thought it should be. To Danny, she now looks like the girl she knows she is even if everyone around her says otherwise. Dreadnought is her origin story which follows her first few weeks of superhero living. While trying to juggle her new life, she’s also trying to find the old Dreadnought’s murderer, who is still threatening the streets of New Port City.

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