Friday, October 27, 2017

Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Orbs

Nicholas Sansbury Smith takes the reader on the journey of an Alien invasion where no place is safe:

 2061: Earth is dying. Cataclysmic solar storms has eaten away at the atmosphere and has caused leaders from around the world to finally acknowledge that the fate of the human race lies on the colonization of Mars. Dr. Sophie Winston is hired by New Tech Corporation to test a biosphere deep within the heart of Cheyenne Mountain; a mission she believes will help prepare the company for the three-year flight to the red planet as well as ensure spots for her team members on those ships. There job is to stay in the biosphere and not leave no matter what, however, days in to the assignment things begin to go extremely wrong and they are unable to contact the outside world. The mission abandoned, the blast doors are opened and the enter in to a barren world that appears to be void of life and water. But not all life is gone, and the team is about to find out that they hold a very precious resources that the invaders need.

I discovered Sansbury Smith earlier this year with Hell Divers and when I found out he had other series, I knew I had to check them out. Orbs is so different from Hell Divers it is shocking, there are very few common threads (really the main on is the survival of the human race) between the two books that they could have been written by different authors. I mean this completely as a compliment as it shows the creativity that Sansbury Smith has in that brain of his. 

From start to finish I was drawn in to this book and the concept that he presented. While an Alien race invading our planet is not knew by any stretch Sansbury Smith's take on it was extremely unique to me. The Alien's need for our water and we're not just talking bodies of water, we're talking every last drop they can squeeze from every living thing on Earth. Enter some of the creepiest and scary Aliens that I have ever been introduced to and lets just say that how living creatures die seems far from a quick and pleasant experience.

I found the characters were not quite as well developed as I would have liked them to be, but I think that it is due to the fact we start off with many and are slowly weeding them out (Yes that is right Sansbury Smith is not afraid to kill off a character or two or more). I think in the next books we will get to know some of the characters better rather than some of the stereotype ones that we got in this book. As I said everyone does not make it to the end here, so there is hope for less point of views next time around and to really get to know some of the characters.

This book will make you appreciate the next time you go for a swim in any body of water or even take a shower or bath. Our most precious resources is our water, we cannot be the only lifeforms out there that relies on it, so maybe Sansbury Smith is a little bit of a prophet. I'm Really looking forward to the next book.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Peter Swanson: Her Every Fear

Peter Swanson shows the readers that you can never really hide from your past:

Kate Priddy always had bouts of anxiety, but things are taken to the next level when her ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and left her to die after killing himself. Kate never thought that she would recover both mentally and physically after what happened to her but she wants to try. When she is accepted in to an art program in Boston, her distant cousin Corbin Dell suggests a flat switch for 6 months. kate really cannot say no. What Kate does not know is the Corbin is trying to fell Boston as she is London and when Kate/Corbin's Boston neighbour turns up dead, Kate has all these questions of who Corbin really is.

I really wanted to LOVE this book. It had such an interesting premise and I really enjoy when a main character has a flaw that is very real life and affects so many people out there but overall I found this book fell flat. This mainly had to do with how the story was told and which characters Swanson chose to have points of view from.

I liked the back and forth between the characters' points of view as well as the shifts from the past and present, but I think that this was also a major flaw in the book as it gave too much away as to what was occurring in the present. This made the book predictable and the major punch line about what was occurring not happen, as you're like "yep figured that out about half way through the book." And trust me it is really obvious.

Kate was the most interesting character in tis book. The paranoia and basically agoraphobia (not wanting to leave the house) that she has was a really interesting aspect to her character. I also liked the incorporation of having her as an artist to try and overcome these issues but they also contribute to them as well in this book. However, I wish that she was a more developed character and these aspects seem to get lost in the second half of the book and it is not due to her suddenly recovering.

Overall, Swanson's book was a miss for me. It had a great premise and great potential and I think executed in a different way I would have enjoyed it. This does not mean I will not read another book by Swanson, I can tell he has something there as an author, but as this is the first book I have read by him I am disappointed.


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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Mercedes Lackey: Hunter

In the first in a new series, well known author Mercedes Lackey takes the reader on the journey of a young hunter who travel from her small town in the mountains to the big city to help against the fight with the Othersiders:

After the Diseray happened Monsters appeared. The ones from your nightmares and some you have never heard of before. The people are forced to live in Cities (Cits) with high walls and the protection of the Hunters. Joyeaux Charmand (Joy) who has been a hunter since she was a child in her mountain village has been summoned to the Capitol, Apex City,  to work as the newest Hunter. Apex is where the best Hunters are located but the job is much more than Joy thought it would be. Hunting the monsters is one thing, but there are even more dangers within the city which means she always has to watch her back. Someone does not want Joy in the city and will do anything to make sure Joy is gone permanently.

Really enjoyed this book, I know I have read Lackey before but it was a long time ago and I'm thinking it was during my romance phase (yes I had one of those when I first started reading). Lackey was able to blend some of the notions that we have now, like our obsession with celebrities and needing to know everything they are doing, with a fantasy and technology based world. This book is also fast pace. Lackey waste no time throwing Joy in to battle and it never seems to let up. Even when she is in the Capitol where she should be safe she knows that all is not right and she needs to keep her guard up. This book really does go from hunt to hunt and with all the different creature that Lackey has Joy face I did not want to put this book down.

Joy is a fantastic character and lead for this series. She is a kick-ass as a hunter who is humble but naive and almost shy when she first enters the Capitol. Really good personality, she is wise beyond her years in certain areas. I loved that she brought her small town knowledge to the big city and showed the hotshots that there way of doing thing aka showing off was not always the best way to get it done.

One of the most interesting and inventive aspects in this book for me was the Hounds. When an individual becomes a hunter they are able to summon a set of hounds from the Otherside and they fight side by side. Hounds is a term that is used loosely as they take on many shapes, sizes, forms as well as extras, like wings thrown in. In the case of Joy she treats her hounds as equals. One more thing that makes me like Joy more as a character. Honestly, I think she will become one of my favourite female characters in a series, if Lackey keeps her along this path.

World building was well done I felt like I had a good grasp on what lackey had set up and that she did not overwhelm me with too many details. As the book is told from Joys POV we get her feelings and emotions that she has when she first enters the Capitol and learns all about what is expected of her as a Hunter. I do hope there was more information about the Folk, as they were introduced right at the beginning of the book as these feared creatures but then that aspect was never really explored further. I also would like more information about the Diseray. This was a major world shaping aspect, basically made the world what it was now, but why it happened is never really explained so I hope that happens sometime in this trilogy as well.

I liked that there romance idea was a real subplot as Joy was very busy doing what she was brought to the Capitol for to be a hunter not to go one dates :) I also appreciated as this is a YA read that there was not love triangle in site.

I think this was a well done YA novel and it was nice to have a heroine who was not overly concerned about her popularity or what a guy thinks about her (most of the time, she is human after all). Great start to a series and I am very excited to read the next book in this series and see if Lackey can top this one.

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