Stunning Space Opera: A Review of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

illuminaecoverTitle: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015
Hardback: 599 Pages
Source: Gift

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”

Five years ago a friend loaned me a copy of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I got a quarter of the way into the 700 page tome and decided it just wasn’t for me. I absolutely hated the non-traditional formatting the author used to tell his story. I considered taking scissors to the book in order to “correct” it a handful of times before I finally called it quits. I promised myself that I was done with “unique” formatting. My OCD simply couldn’t handle it.

I stuck with that promise until Christmas, when I asked for Illuminae. I couldn’t help it. I knew going in that the formatting was going to be interesting. I knew that I would probably hate it. The reviews were just too good to ignore. Plus, I can’t get enough space opera. So, I broke my promise and I read it. It took me a grand total of three days to blow through all 599 pages.

Guess what? I didn’t reach for my scissors once.

Continue reading “Stunning Space Opera: A Review of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff”

Second Book Syndrome: A Review of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

glassswordTitle: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Dystopian
Publication Date: February 9th, 2016
Kindle Edition: 448 Pages
Source: Personal Purchase

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

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

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

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

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

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness of her own heart.

“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.”

Red Queen was not the best book I have read, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. In spite of it being predictable and a bit formulaic, it was still a fun filled, fast paced fantasy. And if you haven’t noticed, I am sucker for all things fantasy. So, I was really excited about Glass Sword. When I bought it, I was bouncing in my chair excited to see what would happen next in the Red’s struggle against Silver tyranny.

Glass Sword did not live up to my expectations. I wanted more of Red Queen, and got something completely different. That wouldn’t have been a bad thing if the sequel had been new and improved. Instead, it felt like the writing and development took several steps back.

Continue reading “Second Book Syndrome: A Review of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard”