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.

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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!

 

Review of “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 421
Published: 2015, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 4 out of 5 flowers

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

MY REVIEW

I haven’t read this series yet because I was filled with scepticism. I LOVE Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Maas’ first book series) and I found it rather unbelievable that such a young author (she is 31 now) could produce two amazing book series simultaneously (because Throne of Glass is truly one of the best series I have read). I wondered if she could write anything as good. She could! Well, almost. A Court of Thorns and Roses only got a 4 from me, while every book in Throne of Glass series got a 5.

My first thought while reading was that I was unused to reading first person stories. I have read them and I do feel that they tend to be easier to relate to. However, I found it a little bit hard to relate to Feyre, the main character. Mostly I think because she was so unlike me and acted very differently than I would have in the same situation.

My second thought was that this book has drawn influences from several other stories. First of all, Beauty and the Beast. She gets taken away by a beast whom she very quickly falls in love with. It is an intriguing story and you kind of secretly wish it to happen to you, that your life would be like a fairytale. It was obvious beyond doubt that she would fall in love with him (I hadn’t really read the backcover so I actually didn’t know the story at all before reading it). It was obvious that he eventually would push her away and that she couldn’t stand to be away for too long, only to return shortly after and find everything in chaos. But at the same time, parts where surprising, like for example the character Rhysand and the actual end of the book also was surprising. While at the same time no I guess. That doesn’t make any sense but that is how I felt.

The world this book takes place in is gorgeously painted by Maas, exactly like Throne of Glass, or even more so perhaps. But the reason why it doesn’t get a full 5, is partly because of the sex scenes, which bothered me in the latest Throne of Glass book too (Empire of Storms). They fit well with this story compared to Empire of Storms, but it is a young adult fantasy book, sex doesn’t really have to be a part of it. It is possible to write about passion without descriptions of the act itself. The main reason It doesn’t really reach a 5 is because I don’t feel like it should get a 5. It is not quite up there as my favorite book series which have gotten 5’s (like Harry Potter for example), they are in different categories and therefore it gets a 4. I think I can say that if you enjoyed Throne of Glass, you might enjoy this too, which feels like a faster version of it with more fantasy.

Review of “Resan till Ljuset” (Towards the Light) by Andrey Dyakov

metro-universum-01-resan-till-ljuset-andrey-dyakovTitle: Resan till Ljuset
Author: Andrey Dyakov
Translator (Swedish): Ola Wallin
Series: Metro Universe #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 313
Published: 2010, Coltso (translated 2012)
My Grade: 4 out of 5 cannibals

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

SANKT PETERSBURG YEAR 2033.
The Earth is desolated and the few survivors have searched for refuge in the Metro’s deep tunnels. Isolated from the rest of the world, humans are struggling and make rare exhibitions to the ground to hunt for food, fuel, and ammunition. One day, some mysterious light signals are observed from the marine base Kronstadt, located on an island outside of the city. A group of stalkers get the mission to investigate the reason behind it. Are there more survivors, and perhaps some untouched storages in the marine base’s gigantic bunker system? Or can it be the sign that the sect of Exodus priests is preaching about?

The world on the surface is an unknown wilderness and the party gets ready to face the faceless dangers that can lurk anywhere in the city’s ruins where barely any human have set its foot in over 20 years.

 

MY REVIEW

I am so glad that Dmitry Glukhovsky opened up his world of Metro 2033 so other amazing authors could write their story. Like Andrey Dyakov and his novel “Towards the Light” which takes place in St. Petersburg. But unlike Metro 2033, this one takes place above ground when a party of stalkers are going out on a mission to find out why the lighthouse all of a sudden is lighting up the city.  It does not quite meet Metro 2033 at a 5, but it was still really good and totally worth reading. It was darker and more eventful than Metro 2033. Gross things happened every now and then (especially in the end) which made me frown and it truly kept me on edge with excitement throughout the whole book.

It doesn’t really meet a 5 and that is only because I didn’t feel as satisfied at the end of it, which I do after books like Wool (by Hugh Howey), or Metro 2033 for that matter. Resan till Ljuset was incredible, but not as amazing and I didn’t finished it with any special emotions. I don’t really know how to explain why I “only” give it a 4, because it was really good. So I definitely think you should read it, but I wasn’t speechless at the end. It was a satisfying ending and kinda predictable. And since I know there is a second one, I wasn’t really expecting such an ending as in Metro 2033. I am glad there is a sequel, because I am not done with the surface of St. Petersburg in 2033.

Anyway, with this rather poor explanation for my grade, I strongly suggest you to read it. It is like Metro, but on the surface. It is really cool! Read it!

Review of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by J. K. Rowling

hogwarts-library-03-the-tales-of-beedle-the-bard-j-k-rowlingTitle: The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Author: J. K. Rowling
Series: Hogwarts Library #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 109
Published: 2008, Bloomsbury
My Grade: 4 out of 5 fairytales

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

 

MY REVIEW

Out of all the short books from J. K. Rowling (Hogwarts Library and Pottermore Presents) I think The Tales of Beedle the Bard is my favorite. The four short wizard fairytales were entertaining and nothing at all like the fairytales we muggles grew up with. Like with the other short books, it was easy and entertaining and a good pause between heavy books.

I give it 4 out of 5 and recommend anyone to read it since it is not really connected to Harry Potter (except maybe the last fairytale “The Tale of the Three Brothers”.

Review of “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

Lord of the Flies - [William Golding]Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Classic
Pages: 205
Published: 1954
My Grade: 4 out of 5 smoke detectors

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

When a plane crashes on a remote island, a small group of schoolboys are the sole survivors. From the prophetic Simon and virtuous Ralph to the lovable Piggy and brutish Jack, each of the boys attempts to establish control as the reality – and brutal savagery – of their situation sets in.

The boys’ struggle to find a way of existing in a community with no fixed boundaries invites readers to evaluate the concepts involved in social and political constructs and moral frameworks. Ideas of community, leadership, and the rule of law are called into question as the reader has to consider who has a right to power, why, and what the consequences of the acquisition of power may be. Often compared to Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies also represents a coming-of-age story of innocence lost.

 

MY REVIEW

I am surprised at why I didn’t read this one in school many many years ago. Doesn’t everyone read Lord of the Flies in school and have to write analyses on what the deeper meaning of the book is? I didn’t and therefore felt that I really should read this and see why it is so loved by teachers. I definitely see why it is considered to be a classic. And it is most definitely a book that fits right in with today’s societal problems. The main story of young boys getting stranded on a deserted island is an exciting story in itself. It is an intriguing scenario where most people can only imagine what it would be like, what they would do and what their new personalities would develop into. I honestly felt uneasy at several points in the story and I also caught myself making faces on the train on my way to and from work. It is a brutal story and it is hard to imagine why some of the 12 year-old boys could cmpletely change personalities and become violent-loving tyrants. It is really sad. The sides, represented by the rule-abiding nice-guy Ralph and the bloodlusting hunter Jack, can be compared to society. Ralph stands for politics and democracy and only tries to do what’s best for everyone, keeping the fire alive so a ship can see them and come to rescue. Jack wants to have fun, he wants to go hunting and loves the drama and stands up to Ralph. He gets lots of followers and in the end the good side only consists of Ralph and the smart, but rather disliked boy Piggy.

One thing that didn’t really feel good when reading this, was that I never really knew the characters. Most of them were just names, but still mentioned a lot. It was first at the end where the names were fewer that you understood them better. It was also written rather inconsistently. It almost felt like there were two different authors. This is a book meant for children, but in some places it was written with many difficult words that I don’t even know and had to look up. But in most places the language was normal. It should have been consistent throughout in my opinion. It would have been easier to read, either way. The characters felt their age, however. It is not often that a book nowadays has characters that act their age, they usually come off much older. But these boys really felt like 12. Good.

I don’t really know what else to write, it was well worth my time, and I do get it why students read it in school. But maybe more kids would appreciate it more if they waited some years. I give it a 4.