Review of “Out of the Ashes” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Out of the Ashes
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: The Legacy Chronicles #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 115
Published: 2017, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 puppeteer

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

In the aftermath of a thwarted alien invasion, teenagers across the globe have begun to develop incredible powers known as Legacies.

Most are sent to the Human Garde Academy, where they can learn to harness their powers for the good of humanity. But there are still countless others who slip through the cracks, who prefer do things their own way, or who are being kept from attending the Academy by people with very different plans for these gifted teens.

That is where Six and Sam come in. They’ve just joined a convert group tasked with investigating suspicious incidents around the world which might be Legacy-related. Their first mission has them looking into the connection between a string of disappearances—but as they dig deeper into the mystery, they stumble upon an unexpected and dangerous Human Garde underworld.

 

MY REVIEW

 

It’s amazing how Pittacus Lore can spit out book after book and fill out his science fiction world with so many details. Since the first book, I am Number Four, I have loved this world and that it is always expanding with new main stories but also small side stories like this, Out of the Ashes.

It revolves around Six and Sam trying to fit in this new world of humans with Legacies. Six is against forcing kids to go to the Human Garde Academy but get another opportunity to help the kids.

I really liked that it mostly took place in New Orleans. It was easy to visualize the places since I was there a few years ago.

Lots of action like usually. Nothing that deviates from the previous books and short novellas. It get a 4.

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Review of “Once Upon a Time in the North” by Philip Pullman

Title: Once Upon a Time in the North
Author: Philip Pullman
Series: His Dark Materials #0.5
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 104
Published: 2008, Alfred A. Knopf
My Grade: 4 out of 5 arctic rabbits

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

In this prequel episode from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials universe, Lee Scoresby — Texan aeronaut and future friend to Lyra Belacqua — is 24 years old. The story reveals the origins of Scoresby’s friendship with Iorek Byrnison as well as Scoresby’s aeronautical career.

After winning his hot-air balloon in a poker game, Scoresby finds himself floating north. On the Arctic island of Novy Odense, Scoresby and his dæmon Hester become involved in a deadly plot involving an oil magnate, a corrupt mayoral candidate, and a hired killer who is Lee’s longtime nemesis from the Dakota Country. Forming an alliance with one of the island’s reviled armored bears, Scoresby fights to break up the conspiracy.

MY REVIEW

When I read His Dark Materials, Once Upon a Time in the North had just gotten out and I hadn’t gotten my hands on it. Then I continued to not have it and therefore not read it. Until now. And I feel more than ever that I really have to reread the original series. I can’t even remember who Lee Scoresby is and what his role is. The bear, Iorek, I do remember bits and pieces of, but no big details.

It was a short story, very enjoyable. But it might have been more enjoyable if I didn’t read it “before” the original series. Hard to remember after 10 years. But it gets a 4. Maybe I will give it a higher grade after I finish rereading His Dark Materials.

 

Review of “La Belle Sauvage” by Philip Pullman

Title: La Belle Sauvage
Author: Philip Pullman
Series: The Book of Dust #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 464
Published: 2017, Alfred A. Knopf
My Grade: 4 out of 5 souls

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy…
Malcolm’s father runs an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his dæmon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue.
He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust–and the spy it was intended for finds him.
When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, Malcolm sees suspicious characters everywhere; Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a dæmon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl–just a baby–named Lyra.
Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make chocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.

 

MY REVIEW

I guess that most people have read His Dark Materials, or have had a parent read it to them when they were kids? Or at least heard of it? The Golden Compass? I read the series in 2008 (as a 17 year old) for the first time and I absolutely loved them! The Book of Dust have been planned for a long time and I have patiently waited, until I honestly forgot about it.

I’ve been meaning to reread the original series but frankly been afraid that if I reread them, my idea of them being incredibly amazing would shatter. But after finishing La Belle Sauvage, I feel ready to reread them, and I feel confident that I won’t be disappointed and have an even clearer view of why they are amazing. Because ten years later, I can’t remember a single detail about them, just that they were good.

But anyway, La Belle Sauvage lived up to my expectations. It followed the same style as His Dark Materials and it was easy to see Pullmans version of England while reading.

The story is perhaps a little bit slow until the end when a lot of spaced out stuff happens. But even if not many things happen, it was hard to put it down. He has a very smooth way of writing if that explains anything? I find his writing very appealing and easy to read. And yes, smooth.

I give La Belle Sauvage a four and I hope that I will enjoy His Dark Materials once again!

Review of “Generation One” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Generation One
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: Lorien Legacies Reborn #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 416
Published: 2017, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 glowing stones

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The war may be over—but for the next generation, the battle has just begun!

It has been over a year since the invasion of Earth was thwarted in Pittacus Lore’s United as One. But in order to win, our alien allies known as the Garde unleashed their Loric energy that spread throughout the globe. Now human teenagers have begun to develop incredible powers of their own, known as Legacies.

To help these incredible and potentially dangerous individuals—and put the world at ease—the Garde have created an academy where they can train this new generation to control their powers and hopefully one day help mankind. But not everyone thinks that’s the best use of their talents. And the teens may need to use their Legacies sooner than they ever imagined.

 

MY REVIEW

Pittacus Lore sure knows how to poop out books. And I am so glad for that. Lorien Legacies (also known as the I Am Number Four series) was really good and contained a lot of side stories in addition to the 7 original books. The ending of United as One (#7) was good and open. It could have ended there, but it was great that he decided to continue. Generation One takes place more than a year after United as One and focuses around the new Garde. I thought I would miss the original Lorien Garde, but I didn’t. The characters were all different and vivid and you connected with each of them.

It was easily written, making it an easy but very enjoyable read. The story was good and didn’t feel too spaced out and it didn’t leave any loose ends (except that the ending was a huge cliffhanger obviously).

It was very similar to the other series and if you enjoyed that one, you will enjoy this too! And no worries, the original Garde is in it a little too. It gets a 4 from me.

Review of “Champion” by Marie Lu

Title: Champion
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #3
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 369
Published: 2013, Penguin Books
My Grade: 4 out of 5 airplanes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

MY REVIEW

This series was definitely getting better and better and had a strong ending. Very predictable but still very fitting for the story.

The main thing about these books is the way Lu is writing and I feel that her way to connect to the characters are getting stronger and stronger with each book. She does it in a great way, but I am also feeling that it kind of gets too much, if that makes any sense? She paints a great picture of the environment and I feel that the characters feelings and analyzes take words from the story. Or maybe I am just jealous that I can’t write like that, haha!

It is hard to read when you are writing yourself. But that is good, because now I know that I want to use her passion and emotional engagement in her fighting scenes, in my own (way way way in the future).

It’s a good book, a four for sure!

Review of “Gemina” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 659
Published: 2016, Alfred A. Knopf
My Grade: 4 out of 5 wormholes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

MY REVIEW

The second book in the Illuminae Files was similar in story, which was great and so unexpected and action-filled in the end, but it took me a little longer to finish it. The main reason was because I found it a little boring that it was more like a normal book than Illuminae. Meaning that there were many many “Surveillance footage summaries”. In the first book there were a few, and it was clear that it was a summary of a video, but in this, most of the video summaries were written like it was a normal book, the perspective of the video reviewer was gone and that made it feel like a normal book when the cool thing about it was just that it was written with chat logs, radio communication logs, data drawn from the AI and so on.

However, it is still a great story, and especially at the end (like with Illuminae) with all that unexpectedness. Another fun thing about this book (and Illuminae as well) is that they have crossed out all the swearwords, so you have to guess them when you are reading. Kinda hard sometimes to be honest.

Before I finished it, I was actually thinking of giving it a 3 or maybe a 3.5. But the ending totally brings it up to a final score of 4.

Review of “Illuminae” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 599
Published: 2015, Alfred A. Knopf
My Grade: 4 out of 5 wormholes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

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.

MY REVIEW

Hmm, this was truly an interesting book. I have never read anything like it before. Not just because I haven’t read too many sci-fi books, but it was different and especially in one way: the way it was written! This whole story is told through chat logs, retrieved documents and other transcripts of sorts. Cool way to write, sure, but what’s even better is how it is justified in the end! I have to admit that I found it kind of hard in the beginning to understand what was happening. It was also hard to see the environments, but honestly, after a while I could see it all! My favorite parts of the book was when data was retrieved from the AI AIDAN and how that AI thought and acted. Fascinating.

The book was 600 pages long, but the story was rather short. I don’t have too much to compare with when it comes to sci-fi since I haven’t read too many books in that genre, so my grade is fully based on my gut feeling, and that was at first a 3, but at the end I changed it to a 4, which means a recommendation. It is a very cool book, not one of the best ones I’ve ever read, but it was original and for that it deserves a strong 4!