After loving Cinder and Scarlett, I was very excited for book number three. The wider story in the series (war and strife between Earth and Lunar) really gains pace in Cress, in the aftermath of the events at the end of Scarlett.
I loved the character of Cress – Lunar shell and superhacker, left on a satellite between Earth and the moon, working directly for Queen Lavinia. She was a great addition to the team around Cinder and a nice contrast to the existing female protagonists (this is definitely a series with plenty of female characters to admire, although each is quite different).
It was also nice to see a bit more of Thorne in this book, after he’d established himself in Scarlett, he really came into his own in this one. The ending of Cress leaves us with a nice cliffhanger for the next in the series: everything is building towards a big climax, with great characters on all sides waiting to move forwards. I’m looking forward to the next release – this is turning out to be one of the best YA series I’ve come across in a long while.
Well, I finally got the time to knuckle down to some reading for fun in the last few weeks and it has started really well: I just finished Tony Talbot’s great new book Medusa. This is the second book of Tony’s I’ve read and I was not disappointed.
We meet Lissa Two – captain of a strange ship with some interesting technical skills – in an apparently post-apocalyptic world of water. Giant ‘seasteads’ form the main areas of civilisation and Lissa uses her ship – Connie – and the particular powers she has, to salvage items for sale in the underground souks in her own seastead home. A random meeting with a man thrown from a strange flying machine; the mysterious disappearance of an apparently strong seastead and Lissa’s own questions about Connie provide the ingredients for a fast-paced, cocktail of adventure.
I really like Tony’s writing style, he has a real way with words (helpful if you’re a writer, I know!) But what I mean, what really stands out in this book for me, was his ability to create a world you felt completely transported to: there is beautiful description throughout the book, whilst he walks his characters through the fast-paced plot, leaving you the feeling that you could reach out and touch the world Lissa inhabits. Now and again, I would find myself noticing something, not because it jarred, but because it just flowed so naturally. Unfortunately, some of the best examples I highlighted would need spoilers to explain – so I’d say you have to check it to know what I mean.
Medusa is one of those books you get sucked into quickly and struggle to find a place to pause, when reading – you just want to know ‘what next’ the whole time. Especially once Lissa’s questions start taking her down interesting paths, it gets even harder to stop: I read the second half of the book in one day. And it was worth it! 🙂
Overall, I’m going 4.5* for Medusa, I thought the characters, pace and writing in the book was even better than Eight Mile Island, the main reason it gets the same rating is because I loved the way EMI sucker punched me in it’s concluding chapters. I didn’t get quite the same left-field shock as I did with that one, but overall, I would say I enjoyed Medusa more and if you’re thinking of trying one of Tony’s books, this is the one I’d recommend.
Recommended for: fans of dystopian YA / post-apocalyptic world settings; I think people who liked the relationships in Angelfall would enjoy this, as well as Hunger Games / Blood Red Road fans looking for something with a feisty female protagonist in an unusual setting.
This is a great YA mystery adventure – with a male lead you’ll probably loathe then like if you’re anything like me (one sentence was all it took for me to dislike him, then another one to turn everything around! It sucker-punched me a bit, I will admit – as I’d had a good few chapters of not thinking very highly of him!)
Tony weaves a great story with twists, technology and science that will make your skin creep at times, as Dylan finds out more about the strange Eight Mile Island. With short, fast-paced chapters and lots of action, all told in a clear, descriptive style you really experience the whole journey with Dylan. It kept me guessing throughout, and being told in the first person it cleverly excludes and includes things that only Dylan would know.
Looking back at the story again now – it’s been a couple of months since I read it – I can see even more in it than I did immediately. It has a ‘Matrix-y’ element to it (trying to remain spoiler free) about the ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ world – I have to admit that on my first reading I took everything at face value and accepted the world as presented by the narrator…I’m not sure I’d do that on a second reading, and think that there would be a different story there for read number two…
Overall, 4.5* for me: Eight Mile Island kept me gripped and interested from start to finish – highly recommended.
This book is great: from the well-rounded characters, to the interesting twist-filled, but believable plot I went for this hook, line and sinker.
Told from Zip’s (Zara ‘Zip’ McKee) point of view – a heroine with a nice combination of self-depreciation, sporting ability, brains and maturity (that doesn’t seem like a 30-year-old in a 17-year-old!) – the story unfolds in traditional YA territory of high school. But the gorgeous new guy, with pale skin thankfully doesn’t turn out to be a vampire (or anything else otherworldly), but someone who suffers with narcolepsy.
The treatment of Kieran’s condition was very interesting – I’d never really thought about how people with narcolepsy deal with various situations and seeing Zip having to work these out as their relationship develops gave an added layer of interest for me and also showed a good deal of Zip’s character and outlook on life. It was nice to read about realistic characters dealing with real world issues, that can be just as problematic as dealing with being a YA in the first place! Hormones and high school are tough enough without passing out on a regular basis 🙂
All the key characters: Kayla, the parents, Kieran, Zip’s team mates… are all well-drawn and as you work through some of the twists and turns I think hold up well with their behaviour and motivation. I loved the dialogue and scene-setting in this book: Zip and Kieran bounce off one another so well that you could be watching them bantering away; and Zip is similar with her mother and Kayla over time. I had a few ‘awwww’ moments in their relationship – they are very cute and believable, without being cheesy. I also found that I really wanted to know what happened next – I read the book in a couple of days which is quick for me – all credit to the author, whose style of writing is engaging, fun and balances plot/drama with regular characters extremely well.
Overall: 4.5* A great debut and I was very pleased to see that this was ‘The End of Book One’ as I reached the last page – I would certainly look out for anything Amy Martin writes in the future and definitely want to hear more from the lovely Zip!
PS – Thanks to author Amy Martin for providing me a copy of this to read / review – love it from the minute I started reading it in the hairdressers! 🙂
So The Tower, Book 2 in Jade Varden’s Deck of Lies series left us with a real cliff-hanger, so what did the third book Death deliver?
Death is a great third addition to this series of books, after the flood of revelations and lies that came out in The Tower, which got to the point of being near overwhelming, Death has a more mellow pace – it’s like that period of disquiet (I certainly can’t call it calm) that comes after a storm…or perhaps that odd come down you feel after a major adrenaline rush and reality begins to sink in. Rain/Chloe/? our protagonist is still in the thick of it, with lies, odd family connections and dirty deeds seeping out of every brick in the fancy mansion she lives in…
Rain continues her quest for the truth – but what truth that is continues to change: her hunt for her identity led to a murder, her hunt for a murderer led her to more of her own secrets… Death delivers a good dose of reflection on the previous rollercoaster of events from Books 1 and 2, whilst continuing to throw up more surprises. I really liked the development of Rain’s character in this book – her experiences are certainly changing how she operates in the vicious world she’s found herself in. The re-appearance of one of my favourite characters was also nicely dealt with – definitely some good potential there for the last book in the series Judgement.
Deck of Lies is a fantastic YA mystery series, with plenty of twists and fans of soaps like Dallas, Days of Our Lives and Sunset Beach, will love the mad hookups and random family relationship relevations. Jade’s writing is style is vivid and concise, helping you to completely immerse yourself in her stories.
Overall Verdict: 4.5* If you’re not already into this series and enjoy a good contemporary YA read, then you’re missing out! I can’t wait for Judgement…