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.

Review of “Stjärndamm” by Lars Wilderäng

stjarnklart-03-stjarndamm-lars-wilderangTitle: Stjärnfall (~ “Stardust”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Stjärnklart #3
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Horror
Pages: 296
Published: 2016, Massolit
My Grade: 5 out of 5 shiny vampires

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

The civilization which was slowly  but steadily rebuilt, 10 years after the Shutdown, has been completely shredded. No bullets in the world can protect them against the enemy which was close to exterminate them all. And who proved way worse than the most horrific nightmare.

Some of the few survivors have once again gathered at Carlsten’s fortress, trapped like rats surrounded by threathingly black eyes. There has to be a way to stop this threat, even if it is the last thing they will do. The question is how will they get out of captivity, and if there are more survivors out there?

MY REVIEW

As always when I finish a series I feel sad. Especially when it is such a great series as this one. I am satisfied with the ending, it was extremely unexpected. Or maybe I have been too stressed while reading this, about school stuff that I just read it without thinking about what could possibly happen next? In either case, I found this last book in the amazing trilogy very unexpected (it was hard to guess what would come next in the first two as well). Lars Wilderäng really makes you sit on the edge of whatever you are sitting on and he totally makes it impossible to put down the book unless you fall asleep with it in your hand (yes, that has happened almost every night).

The finale was shorter than the other two and it was noticeble, but it was still full of action as the second, until the very very end.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone and since I am new at writing reviews, I haven’t really learned how to write reviews further along the road of a book series. But, I loved this book, I loved the series, I loved all the excitment, and most of all; I loved the realism of the story. Like I said in my previous reviews, this feels feasible, this is how the world could end one day and I wouldn’t be surprised.

I want to thank Lars Wilderäng for this experience I got, reading the Stjärnklart series for the past three weeks. I hope I will be able to enjoy other books after this, haha! I also hope that Wilderäng wants to continue writing in this universe, I see great potential for more books! (I also can’t wait for the TV show!) Anyway, easy five out of five! Everyone should read these three books! I MEAN IT! READ! IT!

Review of “Stjärnfall” by Lars Wilderäng

stjarnklart-02-stjarnfall-lars-wilderangTitle: Stjärnfall (~ “Shooting Star”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Stjärnklart #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Horror
Pages: 395
Published: 2015, Massolit
My Grade: 5 out of 5 gas masks

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

Ten years have passed since the doom of modern civilization, when all electronics were wiped out by a high technological attack. Slowly, life has started to stabilize, but is the danger really over? The Shutdown, as the period when all electricity disappeared is called, was probably only the beginning. Now, humanity faces an even bigger threat.

Jocke, the military man is finally back in Sweden after a long assignment in the Middle East and is hoping for a calm life. The farmer Filip Stenvik is under the protection of Västra Götaland Federation but is worried about new attacks. Maximiliam is a grown man and is doing his best to break free from his childhood home and to create his own path. At Carlsten’s Fortress, Bohuslän’s governor Gustaf Silverbane, is collecting his forces, while the head of research Anna Ljungberg is trying to analyze the opponent they don’t know anything about. But what if the enemy is already among them? Maybe closer than anyone could imagine…

MY REVIEW

If I had several emotions while reading Stjärnklart, I pretty much only had one while reading the sequel Stjärnfall: hopelessness. I thought that the first one was dark and depressing, but this one was worse. It was impossible to see how it could end in a good way. I am not gonna say if it did or not.

The first 150 pages or so were very similar to the first book. Some chapters described what happened during the Shutdown, some chapters described what happened during the first few years, and then, the last two thirds of the book was only what happened 10 years after the Shutdown. And it was filled to the top with action. Horrible thing after horrible thing happened and I couldn’t put down the book. Last night I had about 100 pages left, it was late, but I couldn’t stop reading so I finished it at 3am and am surprised that I managed to fall asleep right after. Honestly, I had a nightmare two nights ago.

Like I said, the first part of the book was very similar to the first one, it was realistic and scary because it felt like this could happen to us any day. The second part was very different from the first, because now, the science fiction of it all surfaced. It was still very realisticly written and even though I don’t have too much science fiction novels to compare it to, it felt like a different type of sci-fi book. A realistic type of sci-fi and nothing at all like Star Wars for example. I am not going to spoil anything so I will leave it at that, but it is really scary.

Despite the feeling of hopelessness being my companion throughout this book, I still loved it and recommend everyone to read it now (or patiently wait for the English translation)! Start with the first one, Stjärnklart, obviously. No question about it, 5 out of 5!!

Review of “Stjärnklart” by Lars Wilderäng

stjarnklart-01-stjarnklart-lars-wilderangTitle: Stjärnklart (~ “Starlit”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Stjärnklart #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 403
Published: 2014, Massolit
My Grade: 5 out of 5 dust particles

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

Electronics does not have an immune system…

Johan works in a store chain for mobile phone reparations. Something is not right with more and more broken phones which have been turned in lately. They are stone dead, but filled with dust which quickly spreads and irritate airways. In the idyllic suburbs south of Gothenburg, Magnus Svensson is fighting to get his life puzzle together. When the car out of nowhere stops working, he gets stranded together with many others. The car companies are powerless, and he puts his fate to public transit. But where is the train? Food stores are empited of food and no new deliveries are in sight. Filip Stenvik has survivalism and prepping as hobbies on the side of his job as a barista on Söder, but is he really prepared to let his hobbies become a reality? The Policeman Peter Ragnhell sees an opportunity to expand his unconventional methods of crime fighting. At Karlsborg’s airport, elite soldier Gustaf Silverbane stands ready for a tour abroad when a firelight fills the sky and everything suddenly falls apart. At the same time, the programmer Anna Ljungberg makes a discovery, which threathens to change the conditions for all human life on earth. Or is it already too late?

After yet another power failure, everything changes. The dark fall enters a starlit winter where chaos rules and few survives.

 

MY REVIEW

In the past 8 days that it took for me to read this book, I have had a flood of different emotions. Most if it was anger towards the ugly human-without-tech behavior. There were some happy moments as well, relief here and there, but also fear. Is this what would happen if all electronics in today’s society would fall apart? Would humans really turn against each other in a matter of days to ensure their own survival? It is scary to think about how badly prepared I am in case of an emergency. It has made me think about my situation and how I could be better prepared if anything happened. Especially since there are posters here and there every now and then in Gothenburg asking if I could survive 72h without anyone or anything else than what I have at home. I would most likely be one of those 80% who died in the first few months of this book.

The first thing that I really liked about it was that it mostly took place here in Gothenburg, my hometown. I rarely read any Swedish books and they all take place in imaginary places. But now, as I was on the commute train to work in Kungsbacka, the guy in the book was also on the commute train to Kungsbacka! With the names of street and landmarks here in Gothenburg it was super easy to see how all this took place right in front of me. They were shooting and killing each other at Liseberg, on Gustaf Adolf’s square right in downtown a market slash massacre took place. I think that was a huge contributor to why I liked this book so much. It felt so real to me, and especially since it was so realistically written. It felt like a feasible scenario and I can imagine that this is how it would all go down.

It was a scary book, but what scared me the most were the people. After reading the first chapter about Peter the policeman (all the chapters were from different people’s point of view and most characters were recurring), I was so angry! He is the biggest douchebag ever. There are rarely any authors who make me hate a character as much as I hate that guy. So, I guess, I want to give credits to Lars Wilderäng for creating such livid characters.

As a teacher in the subject “teknik” (=technology) at a high school I think I am going to suggest to a teacher in Swedish, that for next school year make a collaboration with the two courses. The students should read this book, do all the linguistic parts about writing analyses of books and whatever. But also use that knowledge when working with technological development in the technology class. There is one very big part of the final grade, and that is to understand the interaction between society, humans and technology. That could be an interesting assignment.

Anyway, this book gets a star clear 5 rating and I will start on the second “Stjärnfall” right now. Some bad news for my English-speaking readers. This book is not yet translated. I really wish it would be, so not only Swedish-speaking people can enjoy it. But until then, keep your eyes and ears out, hopefully it will happen soon.

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!