Review of “Waking Gods” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Waking Gods
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 325
Published: 2017, Del Ray
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

MY REVIEW

After the cliffhanger in Sleeping Giants I couldn’t wait and picked up the second book in the Themis Files trilogy right away. Waking Gods is written in the same way as Sleeping Giants, in interview form. But I have to admit, that it was harder to follow the story in this one, there were more logs than interviews and it was hard to understand exactly what was going on when the characters talked into a mic during the action-packed event. And also when several people were involved in one recording. Like who said what exactly? Not that it actually matters, because you get the idea anyway. I think I am just used to everything being super clear in “normal” books with detailed descriptions and who says what. But to understand what is going on, that is actually not needed and Neuvel proves that very well.

In the first book, you were always sitting on the edge of your reading place, you had no idea what was going to happen, and it took so many surprising turns. The second was more action-packed. Instead of getting previous events explained through interviews, you were there and were told through recorded mission logs. I think I preferred the interviews. But I also see why the author chose to do it. Not gonna spoil it, I promise.

The ending, and I mean the very very last sentence. Extreme cliffhanger! But I had figured that out a long time ago and wasn’t as surprised or dropped my jaw like in the first one. Still, hell of a cliffhanger!

So, lots of action, long time jumps, many deaths, not as many interviews equals to a grade of 4.

Review of “Up in Smoke” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Up in Smoke
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: The Legacy Chronicles #3
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 185
Published: 2018, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 ships

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

This is the third 100-page novella, continuing the exciting story of fan favorite characters Six and Sam. Following their dangerous battle in the mountains of Montana, the couple has now been ripped apart.

Sam is imprisoned aboard a ship that’s miles off the coast of Mexico. His Legacies have been taken away from him. He doesn’t have any back-up. And if he can’t find a way to free himself soon, he’s going to become a lab experiment.

Although safely recovering at the Human Garde Academy, Six has had her abilities stripped as well. Ignoring everyone’s warnings, though, she decides to mount a rescue mission with the help of Nine and her young charge Nemo. But it’s three of them versus who knows how many teens with Legacies who may be working for their enemy….

Six and Sam may no longer have their powers, but does it mean they’re truly powerless?

 

MY REVIEW

Interesting to have a full novella following Six and Sam, but both completely powerless. It is still as action-packed, still as funny and still as realistic as these stories all are. I find it very easy to relate to all the characters and am so impressed with the author who manages to create so real characters, the things they sare feel real and so easy and so right according to all the different personalities. How does he do it? I basically only have written about one person so far in my own book and I find that hard to make her belieavable. It will be tough when all the other characters around her should be as alive.

I really like this world that Pittacus Lore has painted. But I have to admit that the original story, following the Garde on Earth, trying to run for their lives from the Mogadorians, is better. Now the Mogs are dead and the bad guys are rogue Human Garde (teenagers with newly-developed Legacies) being controlled by manipulative adults who are grumpy because they couldn’t get a Legacy themselves. It is a good way to keep the story goind, for sure. But it doesn’t get it all the way up to a 5, I stop at a 4.

Review of “Mortal Coil” by Derek Landy

Title: Mortal Coil
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #45
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 604
Published: 2010, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 remnants

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Following the shocking revelations of DARK DAYS, get ready for the fifth instalment of the bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series — guaranteed to contain at least 40% humour, 50% action, and 100% thrills!

The blonde girl with the black lips turned to Valkyrie. ‘We know,’ she said. ‘We’ve seen the future. We know you’re going to kill the world!’

Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are back — just in time to see their whole world get turned upside down! While they struggle to protect a known killer from an unstoppable assassin, Valkyrie is on a secret mission of her own. This quest, to prevent her dark and murderous destiny, threatens to take her to the brink of death and beyond. And then the body-snatching Remnants get loose, thousands of twisted souls who possess the living like puppets, and they begin their search for a being powerful enough to lead them. Facing such insurmountable odds, Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Ghastly and Tanith can trust no one. Not even each other!

MY REVIEW

Not even halfway through this series and it is already going very very badly for everyone. How will it end?

It took me almost a month and a half to finish this. Perhaps I wasn’t in a reading mode this summer, or I actually might have gotten a little tired of it. I enjoyed it and I smiled widely at some remarks but I found it hard to concentrate. Was it too much action? Too much going on all the time? I generally feel that fighting scenes in books are hard for me to follow. And there were a lot of them in this fifth book in Skulduggery Pleasant series. I will take a break now from it because another book was just released and other books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. But, Landy is so good at writing cliffhangers. It’s insane. The last one, in the fourth book, was intense and very surprising. And so was this, not as strong though.

Many people died and one thing that bothered me was that it was so casual. As a reader, I barely even noticed that they died. Some books have made me cry out in the open while reading about someone who almost died. But this, with characters I liked, nada. Neither did the characters left alive feel anything. It felt unreal.

Something Landy is really good at, is connecting everything. I didn’t really look for plot holes, but it is very obvious that he has put in a lot of thought into everything. Everything written has a meaning and that is very enjoyable. There most likely are some plot holes, but they are hidden and not very noticable.

I will take a short break in this series and read a couple or three other books. I hope I will have something more constructive to write about #6 when I haven’t almost straight-read all previous ones.

It gets a four out of five.

Review of “The Time Paradox” by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Time Paradox
Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #6
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 391
Published: 2008, Puffin Books
My Grade: 4 out of 5 monkeys

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

After disappearing for three years, Artemis Fowl has returned to a life different from the one he left. Now he’s a big brother, and spends his days teaching his twin siblings the important things in life, such as how to properly summon a waiter at a French restaurant.

But when Artemis Fowl’s mother contracts a life-threatening illness, his world is turned upside down. The only hope for a cure lies in the brain fluid of the silky sifaka lemur. Unfortunately, the animal is extinct due to a heartless bargain Artemis himself made as a younger boy.

Though the odds are stacked against him, Artemis is not willing to give up. With the help of his fairy friends, the young genius travels back in time to save the lemur and bring it back to the present. But to do so, Artemis will have to defeat a maniacal poacher, who has set his sights on new prey: Holly Short.

The rules of time travel are far from simple, but to save his mother, Artemis will have to break them all.and outsmart his most cunning adversary yet: Artemis Fowl, age ten.

MY REVIEW

Another Artemis Fowl book devoured but different than the rest. I think I was a little bit afraid that all the books would be the same. The young, criminal master mind who was selfish like no other, always coming up with new schemes, the next one more thoroughly thought through than the last. But no. This was what I assume that I thought after reading The Arctic Incident three years ago. I am glad I was wrong and took up this series again. It is really good!

The Time Paradox is kind of obviously about time travel to save his dying mom. And for once, he dives headfirst into this adventure without having a real plan. I am guessing that he is truly stressed about his mom and therefore acts recklessly. It turns out well in the end anyway, obviously, but it takes a while and many events to get there. It was entertaining to read about an Artemis who didn’t have a plan yet still solved everything, after many ifs and buts. I also like how he is developing into a young adult who have feelings.

Even if it was good, it does not quite feel like a five, so it gets a 4.

Review of “The Eternity Code” by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Eternity Code
Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Published: 2003, Viking Press
My Grade: 4 out of 5 wings

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Artemis Fowl has constructed a supercomputer from stolen fairy technology. In the wrong hands it could be fatal for humans and fairies alike. But Artemis has a plan. He’s not going to use the computer – he’s just going to show it to an American businessman with Mafia connections. What could possibly go wrong?

MY REVIEW

I can’t remember why I didn’t finish this series exactly three years ago. Oh my, it has been three years since I read the first two?! No wonder I can’t remember them. But I am glad that I decided to continue.

Artemis Fowl has always been a child series to me. But just because the main character is a kid, doesn’t mean the book does not suit grown-ups (or young adults as I still see myself as a 27-year old).

It was not hard to pick this series up again after three years. Most authors are great at doing a short recap at the beginning of a new book in the series. Which can sometimes be annoying when you read them back to back, but in this case it was perfect. There are still some questions though, but a quick search on google cleared that up.

The language is very well-written. Easy, but sophisticated. It must be hard to manage to grown-upify a story about high technological fairies and dwarves and a kid who is overly smart. What really made me realize this was when Mulch, the dwarf was going to rearange a CCTV camera with a very concentrated fart. How is it even possible to write that without making it sound ridiculous? Colfer does it.

The Eternity Code (I can’t remember if it was the same with the first two) circulated around basically one event. And it doesn’t make it boring or less interesting because of it. First an introduction to the plot, then the master plan, Artemis then getting “caught” but it then turns out that that was planned all along. I think the other two were similarly built. It works brilliantly and never gets boring or dragged out. It is full of details and humour hidden behind the well-written language.

It’s definitely a 4.

Review of “Playing with Fire” by Derek Landy

Title: Playing with Fire
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 389
Published: 2008, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 ecplises

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are facing a new enemy: Baron Vengeous, who is determined to bring back the terrifying Faceless Ones and is crafting an army of evil to help him. Added to that, Vengeous is about to enlist a new ally (if he can raise it from the dead): the horrible Grotesquery, a very unlikable monster of legend.

Once Vengeous is on the loose, dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. Now pretty much everybody is out to kill Valkyrie, and the daring detective duo faces its biggest challenge yet.

But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home?

MY REVIEW

The second book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series was very similar to the first one except that it didn’t need the whole introduction to the world. The action came right away because the characters were already known.

I think the level of sarcasm was a little bit lower than the first? It felt more serious. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the thing that sold me to this story, was the sarcasm and witty dialogue. So that was a small bummer.

On the upside though, the story is very much alive and I was extra surprised in the second half when I actually realized that Landy doesn’t write about details. Like for instance, Valkyrie wears a dress, but there is not a single descriptive word about it. Yet, he totally makes it realistic and visible somehow. Very good job, Landy!

This sums up to a grade of 4.

There was also this short story Gold, Babies and the Brothers Muldoon. Refreshing short story of 26 pages with lots of funny dialogue. I guess it is easier to make a short story incredible with 85% sarcasm. In a whole novel, it shoulnd’t take over. What good would a book be if it was only great because it was funny? There has to be a great story to be told as well. But in a short story, it wors perfectly.

Review of “Into the Fire” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Into the Fire
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: The Legacy Chronicles #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 113
Published: 2018, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 puppeteer

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

After escaping from their sabotaged plane and avoiding a crash, Six, Sam, and their new charges manage to make it to the Human Garde Academy and meet up with Nine. Instead of continuing their investigation, though, the Garde decide they must take on the dangerous new foe who has abducted their friends and allies.

But the trail has gone cold, and the only way to find their enemy is to infiltrate his organization. Against Six and Sam’s better judgement, they send Rena and Nemo undercover. But things take a frightening turn when the two young teens are forced to play a deadly game, and Six and Sam may not be able to reach them in time.

 

MY REVIEW

Another action packed story by Pittacus Lore. Like I have said in my previous reviews of books by the Loric Elder, it is as good as the long novels, except that all the stuff happens in only 100 pages. What differs this side-story series compared to The Lost Files that accompanied the original I am Number Four series (The Legacy Chronicles follows Lorien Legacies Reborn, a series which follows the new Human Garde at the Academy rather than the original Loric who had numbers), is that this is not stand-alone novellas in the world describing events that take place alongisde the main events of the main series. This is a story with cliffhangers. A whole new side-story which I guess could be put into a full book. But it works perfectly when the short novellas are released in between the longer books. Otherwise it could be confusing to which order to read them all.

It is a very exciting story and we get to follow Six and Sam more who didn’t have too big roles in the first series. It’s great. But I do miss following John Smith. He is pictured as an almighty god now in the aftermath of the war on Earth between Lorien and Mogadorien.

So to sum up, this is not a standalone novella in this side series. Read Out of the Ashes first. After reading the full Lorien Legacies series. And The Lost Files. And probably also Generation One. Read them all, they are great! 4 out of 5!