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!

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Review of “Prodigy” by Marie Lu

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 371
Published: 2013, Penguin Books
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 paper clips

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

MY REVIEW

I am not sure why exactly this got a slighty better grade than Legend. It might have been because I listened to Legend as an audiobook and I did it in two sittings so it felt like nothing happened. Or perhaps because this one was slightly better. Maybe they were as good? I got a good impression of it anyway. 3 feels low, but according to my scale, it was a good book so I guess that is accurate.

What was good about it? First of all, it was very intimately written. I got the impression that this book’s focus was the development of the characters and their point of view rather than the story. The story is good, but the closeness to the characters really make it pop.

Second, any type of realistic dystopian story intrigues me. Well, it doesn’t even have to be realistic, but this is. More of the backstory to why it became the Republic of America is revealed in Prodigy and it is so cool that the author sits on so much information that never really gets out to the reader. This is something I have definitely learned since starting to write myself and Marie Lu has drawn up a very colorful (maybe vivid is the more correct term since her future is really really grey and dull) world.

Definitely better than the first. Is perhaps Champion (the last in the trilogy) even better? We will have to wait and see.

Review of “Legend” by Marie Lu

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 305
Published: 2011, Penguin Books
My Grade: 3 out of 5 plague victims

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

MY REVIEW

First, before anything else, I have to say that the grade might have been affected by the fact that this was not read, but listened to. I almost feel like I have cheated. For the first time in my life, I have listened to an audiobook. I took a trip up to my cousins in Nynäshamn and it is 5 hours each way. I was alone and felt that I would get bored if I only listened to music, so I tried an audiobook for the very first time. During those 10 hours it took me to drive back and forth, I managed to finish Legend and 25% of Prodigy (#2).

I usually don’t have big expectations on books. But I was a little disappointed by this. Don’t mistake me, it was a good book and definitely enjoyable listening too. Perhaps I went through too much of it in too short time, but it felt like not much was happening. I also got the feeling that this was a very long introduction to the story, that most of the exciting things are happening in #2 and forward.

I really liked the characters, they felt real. Although it is pretty cliché-y that the main characters are from opposite sides of the social hierarchy and that they fall in love and all of that. But it does not overtake the main story of the new Republic of America.

One thing I really liked when listening to it was that they had two people reading, one man for the boy and one woman for the girl. It made it feel more alive, even if perhaps I wouldn’t have given them those voices in my head.

Review of “Carve the Mark” by Veronica Roth

Title: Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Carve the Mark #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 468
Published: 2017, HarperCollins
My Grade: 3 out of 5 flowers

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

MY REVIEW

I just recently heard about this book and imediatly felt that I had to read it and decided to take this one on before continuing on my priority-to-read list. I have to say that I kind of regret that decision. It feels wrong to compare this new book by Roth with Divergent, but since it was on the cover it was inevitable. Divergent was one of the best series I have read, this one was just: meh. The introduction was interesting and captivating but the story lost its charm after a while. It was a young adult book written in an unneccesarily complicated  and also confusing way. I had a hard time understanding time and how much of it passed during this story.

I really liked the characters though and the story in itself was very good. Both Cyra and Akos felt real and it was a good mix of them both.

There is no real point in putting a genre label on it, but I really couldn’t tell if it would be classified as more of a sci-fi or fantasy book which was great. I love both genres so it was good that this book held the standard of both.

Even if the story felt original, the characters real, I still don’t feel that this book deserves more than a 3. Mostly because the way it was written. But also because the environment felt a little bit flat. Everything in this world was made up by Roth and probably because she didn’t want to use to many things which might confuse the reader even more, there were not many things in the world so it got a little boring when reading about the same type of plants or animals. Or maybe the ice planet doesn’t have that much life?

To sum up, I didn’t feel this book while reading it and it doesn’t feel fair to give it a 3, but I do. Perhaps the 2nd and final book will be better.

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!

 

Review of “Resan till Mörkret” (Into the Darkness) by Andrey Dyakov

Resan till Mörkret by Andrey DyakovTitle: Resan till Mörkret
Author: Andrey Dyakov
Translator (Swedish): Ola Wallin
Series: Metro Universe #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 398
Published: 2012, Coltso (translated 2015)
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 heavens

COLTSO’S DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

SANKT PETERSBURG YEAR 2033.
A couple of decades after the big nuclear war the metro is threathened  by another war. People are desperately clinging to their miserable lives on the metro stations and in the underworld tunnels and labyrinths. Colonies on two islands in the Gulf of Finland was recently discovered, but when a nuclear bomb is detonated, only a few seamen survive and seek refugee in the metro. They accuse the metro inhabitants of the attack and threathens to eliminate all life on the stations. Taran, an infamous Stalker, gets the assignment of finding the guilty. But then his stepson Gleb dissapears…

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

MY REVIEW

This is so far the Swedish translations in this trilogy goes. I really hope the third one gets translated soon, I really want to find out what happens next. Like the first one, it is a really good book. It is slightly less good though, I only give it a 3.5 instead of a 4. And the reason for that, is because I felt that it was a bit spread out. There was a main story, but it was left behind after just a few chapters and it instead focused on so many other things. I guess you could say it was a bit messy. But, it wrapped up nicely in the end and answered almost all questions you had while reading it. One got unanswered and I doubt that it will be brought up in the third book (Beyond the Horizon), but I hope it will.

Compared to the originals by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Andrey Dyakov’s story takes place more aboveground, this one not so much as the first (Resan till Ljuset), but still more than Metro 2033. Lots of monsters and the author definitely has a lot of imagination when inventing all of them.

Something that also drags down the review by 0.5 points is that it sometimes felt like too much. Almost all the action-filled situations went to the worst case scenario, but always worked out in the end. This is sci-fi, I know, but it felt unrealistic, and yes, a bit too much. The characters doesn’t have to be on the brink of death as soon as something happens. It gets predictable after a while, “oh no, they are dead/almost dead, but it is okay, they will survive of course, because they survived everything else so far”.

But it is still a very good story! I really like the setting of it all and it was definitely worth reading even with the exxagerations. If you enjoyed the original Metro series, you will enjoy this series too.